Two men have appeared in court charged with conspiracy to import drugs, as part of an investigation into the biggest illegal drugs haul in the history of the State.

Jamie Harbron, 31, with an address at 26 South Avenue, Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees, England and 60-year-old Vitaliy Lapa, of no fixed abode but originally from Ukraine, were brought before a special sitting of Waterford District Court this evening having been arrested in the early hours of last Monday morning.

They had been winched to safety from a trawler which ran aground off the Wexford coast before being arrested.

Both men are charged with conspiracy to import drugs under section 71 of the 2006 Criminal Justice Act.

Jamie Harbron made no reply when charged

They were charged last night at Wexford Garda Station by Detective Garda James Doolin and Detective Garda Ciara McNulty of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

Neither man made any reply when charged.

They have both been remanded in custody to appear before Wexford District Court, via video link, on Monday.

Judge John Cheatle granted legal aid in both cases and also directed that a psychological assessment be carried out on Vitaliy Lapa.

There was no application for bail in either case as bail can only be granted in the High Court on this charge.

Vitaliy Lapa seen in Waterford this evening

Their appearance in court arose from an ongoing major investigation into illegal drug smuggling, focusing this week on the activities of the MV Matthew cargo ship.

The Panamanian-registered bulk carrier which left South America last month was intercepted and escorted to port in Cork on Tuesday by an Irish joint task force which included gardaí, the naval service, army rangers and Revenue customs.

It is thought the ship was intending to rendezvous with the trawler which ran aground off the Wexford coast.

Five other men who were arrested this week as part of the investigation, who were crew members on the MV Matthew, remain in custody in Garda stations in Co Wexford and Co Cork.