Cocaine yacht MY Kahu to be sold to the highest bidder


Seized yacht MY Kahu will be sold to the highest bidder at an online auction in April, after being arrested carrying over 2t of cocaine. The UK National Crime Agency has instructed the sale of the 120ft (36.58m) vessel to be managed by Wilsons Auctions.

MY Kahu was seized under the UK Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and will be sold as unreserved when it is auctioned on Wednesday April 27th at 3pm GMT. Potential buyers will have a 24-hour window to bid online before closing. Wilsons Auctions will host an open day for viewings on April 20th.

Mark Woods, government contracts manager, Wilsons Auctions said: “It is reported that around £160m [$208.6m] worth of cocaine was found on board MY Kahu and that is why the vessel is now being offered for sale by auction.”  

Woods added: “We play an important role in realising a large quantity of assets on behalf of these clients [such as NCA] and in recent years, these auctions have seen us responsible in returning £130m [$169.5m] back into the public purse.”

The vessel was intercepted heading for the Caribbean in international waters by NCA, UK Border Force and Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers in September 2021. It was arrested around 80m off the coast of Plymouth, UK, with over two tonnes of cocaine found on board.

Intelligence from Operation Ironside enabled the AFP to assist their British enforcement partners in disrupting an alleged sophisticated criminal network.

Operation Ironside was a three-year, covert, AFP-led investigation into organised crime syndicates that were using a dedicated encrypted communications device, named AN0M.

AN0M, which was distributed and used only by transnational serious organised crime, was secretly controlled by the FBI. AFP technical expertise allowed law enforcement to obtain and read the encrypted messages in real time.

Lesa Gale, assistant commissioner, AFP said: “Intelligence from Operation Ironside had enabled the AFP to assist international enforcement partners in disrupting an alleged sophisticated criminal network.”

Currently docked in Torquay Marina, UK, the luxury vessel is an expedition yacht that was built for the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1979. It has since been converted into a pleasure yacht and travelled the globe including making multiple transpacific and transatlantic voyages.

MY Kahu features a large salon, a stacked galley, five staterooms and accommodation for four crew members. It has a 32,000L diesel engine with an approximate range of 8,000m. SYI understands it is valued in the range of £1.25m ($1.6m).

Woods concluded by saying: “The online element of the auction is extremely convenient for bidders around the world to register and get involved. This will be an exciting one to watch.”

For more information visit Wilsons Auctions.