Photo: Jamie White

EXCLUSIVE Three people have been arrested as part of an investigation into the alleged importation of drugs off the Isle of Wight, the National Crime Agency (NCA) has confirmed.

Travel operator TUI has told Isle of Wight Radio that a crew member onboard its Marella Discovery 2 – which is anchored off the Island – is involved with a police investigation.

The cruise ship, which can carry more than 2,000 passengers, has been moored off Sandown Bay for the last few weeks.

Marella Discovery 2 moored off the Isle of Wight on Tuesday (19). Image thanks to MarineTraffic.com.

Responding to an enquiry regarding a TUI cruise ship, the NCA says that three men were detained by officers on Saturday April, 25.

Ships moored in Sandown Bay

The NCA has confirmed that the arrests were made as part of an investigation into the alleged importation of drugs.

The NCA said that three men will appear at Winchester Crown Court on May 27.

Marella Discovery 2. Credit: tui.co.uk

A spokesperson for TUI said:

“We’re aware of a police investigation involving a crew member onboard Marella Discovery 2.

“As this is now a police matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further. We will continue to assist the authorities throughout their investigation.”

The Marella Discovery 2 is the sister ship to Marella Discovery – and was formerly owned by Royal Caribbean.

It is one of a number of cruiseliners that have been taking shelter off the Island during the coronavirus pandemic.

As Isle of Wight Radio previously reported, ships have struggled to find berths so have been taking refuge along the coast.

A TUI cruise ship moored to the south of the Isle of Wight. Graham Reading Photography.
Credit www.grahamreading.com