More than €12m worth of cocaine has been seized following a joint search operation between gardaí and Revenue officers in Co Cork earlier today.

During the search at Ringaskiddy Port, around 172kg of suspected cocaine, worth around €12.04m, was seized.

The drugs were discovered following a search of containers that arrived on a vessel from Central America.

The 210-metre Maersk Nimes, which is registered in Hong Kong, regularly visits Cork with supplies of bananas.

The Maersk Nimes (File photo: Eddie English Sail Cork)

It docked yesterday at midday in Ringaskiddy, having been at sea for approximately ten days. It left the port of Moin in Costa Rica on 6 February.

It is believed the drugs were intended for the Irish market.

Assistant Garda Commissioner John O'Driscoll said the seizure demonstrates the potential of collaborative work between agencies, in tackling importation of controlled drugs that harm communities.

He said: "The Garda Síochána will continue to work with others at a national and international level in targeting the importation and supply of illicit drugs and the organised crime gangs that benefit from such activity."

Customs Drug Law Enforcement Director Mick Gilligan said that Revenue employed its "full suite of specialist search resources" to control the vessel from South America, including a container x-ray scanner, drug dog detection teams, and deep rummage officers.

"Today's seizure of Cocaine will have a significant impact on organised crime and demonstrates the hard work that is undertaken every day by Revenue's Customs Service and An Garda Síochána in confronting this threat," he said.

Additional reporting Jennie O'Sullivan