MV Matthew Word on the Week 30th September 2023.
The ship, under its new name, ‘Matthew’ sailed into Irish waters this week. It had come from the Dutch island of Aruba in the South Caribbean as the MV Honmon to Willemstad in the Dutch protectorate of Curaçao on August 18th from where it sailed to Georgetown in Guyana on the north Atlantic coast of South America to collect a cargo.
The cargo was cocaine, procured by a Colombian drug cartel for sale in the European market. So far 2.2 tonnes of cocaine have been recovered, partly hidden on deck in a ship’s life boat. The vessel is 189 meters long and has a cargo capacity of 64,000 tonnes, so there is plenty of room for more of the stuff to be found!
The MV Matthew had failed to stop when requested by our Navy’s offshore patrol vessel the LE William Butler Yeats despite her firing a couple of shots across her bow. It was left to a team from the army Ranger Wing to abseil down from a helicopter and secure the vessel. She is now undergoing inspection in Cork harbour by the authorities.
Just prior to these events two men purchased a trawler in Castletownbere. They were inexperienced sailors and with stormy seas ended up aground on a sandbank off Blackwater, in Co Wexford. Their objective was to rendezvous with the MV Matthew and distribute the cocaine via harbours in these Isles. The two men have now been rescued by helicopter and duly arrested.
The audaciousness of this enterprise is breath-taking. And this is not by any means the first cargo ship to cross the Atlantic with a drug cargo. The market continues to expand as addiction spreads and the resultant misery in terms of human suffering increases out of control.
What seems to be in control are the global gangs which locate in various places and control a portion of the drug trade. In these locations the governing bodies cannot control them and with the purchasing power the drug money at their disposal buying ships becomes feasible.
The naming of the ship Matthew is interesting. When Jesus called the tax-collector there was little doubt his reputation was in tatters (St Matthew 9 verses 9/11). The ship’s Iranian captain appeared to have head and neck injuries, was air lifted to hospital, made a fast recovery and is now in Garda custody. It will be interesting to see if the captain wishes to emulate the Apostle and transfer his allegiance from drug-smuggling to Christ.
Let us pray he may be the first of many.