Soldiers from the Army Ranger Wing (ARW)  have detained three individuals following a dramatic siege of a cargo ship near the coast of Ireland, according to statements from An Garda Síochána, the national police service of Ireland.

The ship, flying under a Panamanian flag and named MV Matthew, contained a sizable amount of illegal drugs. Authorities suspect the ship was involved in smuggling cocaine.

When the MV Matthew failed to halt, naval officers were compelled to discharge warning shots. The individuals taken into custody are 60, 50, and 31 years old and are being held in County Wexford, facing charges related to organized crime.

MV Matthew

An array of agencies, including the Army Ranger Wing, Naval Service, Air Corps, Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, and customs officers, collaborated in the operation. They demonstrated exceptional “courage, discipline, and professionalism,” as praised by Lt Gen Seán Clancy, the Irish Defence Forces Chief of Staff.

Following the intervention, the MV Matthew was escorted to a naval base at Haulbowline in County Cork, witnessed by a gathering crowd at Cobh harbor. The ship is now set to undergo a thorough inspection by police and customs officials.

The events leading to the raid began with a fishing trawler sending out a distress signal off the coast of Wexford. This led to a response from multiple agencies, including the Irish Naval Service, the Coast Guard, and gardaí. The trawler remains stranded on a sandbank near Rosslare in County Wexford.