On September 30 last year, Steve Brogan, 36, and Anthony Reilly, 34, took a jet ski from Lowestoft, Suffolk to a pick-up point in the Netherlands to collect the drugs.
On their way back to England, the pair were carrying a backpack carrying cocaine when they approached a survey vessel for fuel, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
However, “that request was refused”, prosecutor Hugh Vass told the court.
After being “pitched into the sea”, the Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat and HM Coastguard helicopter from Hull were called to help rescue the two stranded men in the North Sea. Vass added that one of them was showing signs of exhaustion, with the other appearing to show symptoms of hypothermia.
They were then airlifted to a hospital in Gorleston in Norfolk and were arrested on arrival after helicopter crew members were suspicious of their behaviour.
The court heard how Brogan told officers he had been “fishing by jet ski but ran into difficulty when they ran out of fuel”, but officers found 2kg of cocaine in a backpack, valued up to £200,000.
Both men admitted to importing class A drugs and a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing will take place at a later date.
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