A source close to the situation said on Wednesday that the ship, the MSC Gayane, is part of a transportation strategy fund run for the bank's asset management unit.
"A seizure of a vessel this massive is complicated and unprecedented — but it is appropriate because the circumstances here are also unprecedented," said US Attorney William McSwain in a statement Monday.
"When a vessel brings such an outrageous amount of deadly drugs into Philadelphia waters, my Office and our agency partners will pursue the most severe consequences possible against all involved parties in order to protect our district -- and our country," McSwain added.Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) said in a statement on June 18 that "unfortunately, shipping and logistics companies are from time to time affected by trafficking problems. MSC has a longstanding history of cooperating with U.S. federal law enforcement agencies to help disrupt illegal narcotics trafficking." MSC added in an update Tuesday that it is cooperating with law enforcement and is not a target of the US government's investigation.
"Seizing a vessel of this size is an unusual enforcement action for CBP, but is indicative of the serious consequences associated with an alleged conspiracy by crewmembers and others to smuggle a record load of dangerous drugs through the United States," added Casey Durst, the CBP's Director of Field Operations in Baltimore.
MSC said that the ship was en route to northern Europe at the time it was seized, and that aside from the containers held by authorities in the United States, all other cargoes have been sent along to their destinations on other MSC vessels.