Massive cocaine bust at Philadelphia port

By AAP Newswire

More than $US1 billion ($A1.5 billion) worth of cocaine has been seized from a ship at a Philadelphia port in what US authorities are calling one of the largest drug busts in the country's history.

The US Attorney's office in Philadelphia said on Tuesday that law enforcement agents seized about 15 tonnes of cocaine from a large ship at the Packer Marine Terminal.

Members of the crew were arrested and face federal charges.

"This amount of cocaine could kill millions - MILLIONS - of people," US Attorney William McSwain said in a tweet.

The drug seizure is the latest in a series of large cocaine busts along the US east coast.

In a March bust in Philadelphia, drug dogs sniffed out 538 kilograms of cocaine worth about $US38 million ($A56 million) - at that time the city's largest seizure of the drug in more than two decades.

In February, customs agents seized 1451kg at the Port of New York and New Jersey with a street value estimated at $US77 million ($A113 million).

That was the largest cocaine bust at the ports since 1994.

Television footage of the seized ship in Philadelphia showed its name as MSC Gayane.

Online ship trackers said it sails under the flag of Liberia and arrived in Philadelphia after 5am local time on Monday.