Australian police: Suspected drug smuggling ship intercepted

A commercial ship police say that was used in a suspected drug smuggling operation was intercepted off Australia and its crew are expected to be taken into custody, officials said Friday.

The 10 crew members are believed to be Chinese nationals, Australian Border Force regional commander James Watson told reporters in the island state of Tasmania.

On Monday, Australian officials intercepted the 50-meter (160-foot) former research vessel in international waters off Tasmania, Watson said. The boat was then brought to the state capital, Hobart, and was being searched on Friday.

Officials found a "significant quantity" of illegal drugs on board, Watson said. He declined to specify what type of drugs were found and said it was too early to know exactly how much was on board the boat.