In a statement, the National Maritime Authority (AMN) said that, during the operation, a first high-speed vessel was detected, with three crew members, suspected of being linked to drug trafficking, and a “successful” approach to the vessel was carried out, leading to the detention of three crew members.
Meanwhile, "a second high-speed vessel was detected that was dropping several bales of narcotics into the water", but the crew, upon realizing the presence of the authorities, "purposely" rammed one of the Maritime Police vessels.
“The vessel collided with such violence that it passed over it from one side to the other, damaging the Maritime Police vessel, putting the lives of the agents at risk, who escaped with injuries”, he says, adding that, even with “two injured and two others lying in the water”, the Maritime Police managed to react and raise the alarm.
Unsuccessful, the crew of the second vessel fled and the officers of the Maritime Police were rescued and transported by a Portuguese Air Force aircraft to a hospital unit.
The drug bundles collected in the joint operation by the Maritime Police and the Portuguese Navy will be handed over to the Judiciary Police, as well as the three men arrested.
According to the Maritime Authority, in the last "two months there has been a greater degree of violence in the reactions of traffickers", this being the second case involving authorities' vessels registered in the Algarve in the last two weeks.
At the end of January, a vessel from the Coastal Control Unit (UCC) was damaged during a pursuit of two high-speed vessels, near the island of Armona, in Olhão, in the district of Faro.