Spanish police have released dramatic video footage of a raid on a general cargoship carrying €400m ($470m) worth of drugs destined for Europe.

A vessel named the Natalia, reportedly flying the Togo flag, was intercepted on 8 August off Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands with nearly 20 tonnes of hashish in its holds.

Eleven Syrian seafarers were arrested in the operation.

The video shows armed police approaching the ship, before boarding and climbing to the bridge.

Helmet cameras

Footage of the crew is not shown, but the video reveals the 638 bales of drugs contained in hundreds of bags among normal cargo in a hold.

The identity of the vessel is not clear. Spanish police said they had logged a flag and name change between Togo and Palau in recent months.

The operation was led by the Irish section of the European Union's anti-drugs unit.

This followed an investigation by Irish anti-drugs agency MAOC-N.

Heading for Europe

The drugs were put on display in Las Palmas. They were believed to be destined for western Europe.

Spanish police had been following the vessel for several days.

The raid was ordered when authorities believed the ship was in danger of sinking, but the Natalia was brought safely into Las Palmas later on 8 August.

Irish media reported the intelligence operation began in January when investigators noticed suspicious activity from a shipping company in the Middle East.

The cargoship was tracked from Turkey as it moved through the Mediterranean, before heading south to the Canaries.

Officers also found 20 kg of cannabis in crew quarters.

The seafarers were due to appear in court this week.