A sailing yacht at the centre of one of Ireland’s biggest-ever drugs seizures has sold at public auction for €70,000.

The auction was held by Dominic J Daly & Co. Auctioneers at a hotel in Carrigaline, County Cork yesterday, by direction of the Irish Police Authority.

The 62ft (18.9m) Makayabella yacht, crewed by three Britons, was seized on 22 September 2014 by a boarding party from the LÉ Niamh patrol vessel in the Irish Naval Service.

A total of 1,025kgs of cocaine worth €290million was found on board.

Acting on intelligence provided by the National Crime Agency and French Customs DNRED, and in coordination with the UK’s National Maritime Information Centre and Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre (MAOC) in Lisbon, the Irish Naval Service intercepted the yacht Makayabella around 200 miles off the south west coast of Ireland.

The three men on board, all from the West Yorkshire area, were detained and taken to the Irish mainland for questioning by police.

Investigators in the UK also seized a 25ft (7.6m) motor boat called Sea Breeze, moored in Pwllheli, North Wales, in connection with the smuggling ring.

The powerboat Sea Breeze

The powerboat Sea Breeze

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In April this year, John Powell, aged 70, of Silsden, West Yorkshire, was jailed for 10 years after admitting two charges of drug trafficking and the importation of drugs.

Benjamin Mellor, 35, of Bradford, and Thomas Britteon, 28, of Grimsby, were each jailed for eight years.

Last December, Powell’s son Stephen Powell, 48, from Guiseley, West Yorkshire, was jailed for 16 years for conspiring to import cocaine.

NCA investigators identified that Powell had purchased the Makayabella and the Sea Breeze, which was to be used to meet the Makaybella and collect the drugs.

The Irish Times reports that Makayabella was purchased yesterday at the auction at Carrigaline Court Hotel by Cork solicitor, Barry O’Meara in trust for an Irish resident, who wishes to remain anonymous.

The yacht had previously been kept and maintained by the Irish Naval Service at its base in Haulbowline in Cork Harbour.

A Garda press office spokesman said: ‘The proceeds  of any sale on property seized and sold on behalf of the State will go to the central exchequer.’