Global Vigilance VSS notified us on Saturday night at 9:19PM EDT that the MSC Gayane, a one year old, new panamax container ship with a capacity of 11,000 TEUs, departed the Port of Philadelphia. It made mainstream news headlines over the last three weeks for being caught transporting 19.76 tons of cocaine (US$1.3 billion) inside of seven containers, which also contained wine, paperboard, vegetable extracts and dried nuts. That was the largest cocaine seizure in the history of U.S. Customs and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
J.P. Morgan has received most of the public backlash as all major news outlets identified it as the company who owns the “drug ship” in headline after headline. That generated attention but failed to accurately inform the public of the company directly responsible.
Due to the complex nature of shipping and costs to own, operate and insure a vessel, there are seven levels of direct ownership with seven distinct roles fulfilled by one company or multiple companies – related or unrelated. Concerning the MSC Gayane, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and its subsidiaries have those responsibilities. However, as the group beneficial owner and operator of it, MSC has direct control. J.P. Morgan, more specifically J.P. Morgan Asset Management, only has an indirect, financial stake in the MSC Gayane on behalf of its pension fund customers.
On July 4th, 16 days after finding the record load, CBP seized the MSC Gayane at the direction of William M. McSwain, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and subjected it to possible forfeiture to the United States. That decision seemed indefinite based on his comments, but McSwain released the ship nine days later after an agreement with MSC was reached. Global Vigilance VSS immediately alerted us when the MSC Gayane departed the Port of Philadelphia en route to Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Using Global Vigilance VSS, you can monitor port movements and create alerts to notify you when vessels arrive, depart or declare they are en route. And as vessels have seven levels of direct ownership, you can also create alerts that notify you when a controlling entity meets the same criteria. In addition to the MSC Gayane, we are tracking other seized ships worldwide.
For more information, contact us about how we can help you track vessels.
- “Ship in Record Cocaine Bust Seized, Anchored in Delware Bay.” nbcpalmsprings.com. July 8, 2019. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
- “REVEALED: How JPMorgan’s stodgy asset management division came to own a ship that was seized in Philadelphia carrying 20 tons of COCAINE worth $1.3billion”. dailymail.co.uk. July 10, 2019. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
- “Cargo ship owned by JPMorgan Chase seized by US with 20 tons of cocaine”. edition.cnn.com. July 10, 2019. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
- “JPMorgan Might Lose a Drug Ship”. bloomberg.com. July 10, 2019. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
- “Commentary: Vessel forfeiture.” americanshipper.com. July 12, 2019. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
- McSwain, William. (USAttyMcSwain). “Progress on our MSC Gayane ship seizure: Today, my office secured $10 million in cash and a $40 million surety bond from the owner and operator of the vessel in exchange for its temporary release pending a final resolution in this case. #MSCGayane”. 13 July 2019, 1:26PM. Twitter Post.