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CRIME

Brazil seizes 1.3 tonnes of cocaine on Italian ship reportedly attacked by pirates

Brazilian authorities said on Monday August 13th that they seized 1.32 metric tonnes (2,910 pounds) of cocaine aboard an Italian-flagged ship in Brazil's main port of Santos, near Sao Paulo.

Brazil seizes 1.3 tonnes of cocaine on Italian ship reportedly attacked by pirates
File photo: Joe Raedle/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP.

“The drugs were divided into 1,202 tablets distributed in 41 sacks” in two containers on the Grande Francia ship, which had arrived from Argentina, the customs department said.

According to G1 news site, the ship was attacked by pirates on Sunday. However it was unclear whether the incident was connected to the drugs discovery.

According to O Globo site, more than 1,322 kilograms of cocaine were seized, the second large drugs bust at the port in a week, hidden in 41 sacks in two shipping containers. Four armed men boarded the boat 15-kilometres off the coastline for two hours on the morning of Sunday August 12th, according to the Brazilian media outlet's report, leading to speculation that the ship had been targeted by pirates. 

The federal police in Santos said that a pirate incident had occurred but targeting a different vessel.

“We are working on the case,” the police said in a statement. The customs service said that so far this year it has intercepted 13,518 kilos of drugs (29,802 pounds) in 27 operations at Santos port, the biggest in Latin America. This is more than the total seized in 2017.

READ MORE: Alleged drug trafficker arrested in Mexico over disappearance of three Italians

ROME

Tourist fined €450 for swim in Rome’s Trevi Fountain

With the return of tourism and scorching temperatures, Rome’s fountains are once again attracting visitors hoping to cool off with a midnight swim.

Tourist fined €450 for swim in Rome's Trevi Fountain

In the latest incident, a 26-year-old Spanish man was fined 450 euros after taking a dip in the Trevi Fountain in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Rome’s city police apprehended and fined the man after he was spotted swimming in the 18th-century monument at around 5am, according to local media reports.

READ ALSO: How to keep cool like an Ancient Roman in Italy’s summer heat

Every summer, hapless foreign visitors face fines of hundreds of euros after falling foul of Rome’s strict ban on taking a dip in public fountains – with the city mayor warning tourists that the centuries-old Baroque monuments are “not swimming pools”.

In April, two Dutch tourists also faced fines totalling over €1,000 after their own ill-advised splash in the Trevi Fountain.

The Roman landmark is one of the city’s main magnets for badly-behaved visitors, but tourists have also been fined after cooling off in the Santa Maria fountain in Trastevere, believed to be the city’s oldest. 

Since 2018, anyone caught misbehaving at Rome’s monuments can also face a temporary ‘Daspo’ ban from the area – similar to an ASBO (anti-social behaviour order) in the UK – which allows city police to restrict the movement of people they deem a threat to public order.

READ ALSO: From selfie brawls to midnight swims: Tourists behaving badly at the Trevi Fountain

But a plan to erect a one-metre-high glass and steel barrier around the Trevi fountain to protect it from unruly visitors now appears to have been abandoned after arts and heritage experts called the idea “foolish”.

Fines for swimming in the fountains have been in place since 2015, but this hasn’t stopped determined visitors from recreating scenes from La Dolce Vita and even some locals from taking a dip – – with or without their clothes.

Swimming in the wrong place is just one of the offences regularly committed by visitors, with graffiti and vandalism a common problem at many of Italy’s famous monuments.

READ ALSO: 15 strange ways to get into trouble on holiday in Italy

In Rome alone, this year tourists have made headlines for everything from breaking into the Colosseum to enjoy a drink with a view to driving a car down the Spanish Steps.

Other Italian tourism hotspots, including Florence and Venice, also have varying local rules in place aimed at curbing rowdy behaviour.

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