The Royal Canadian Navy’s Frigate, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Regina, currently assigned to Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 (Maritime Security), disrupted a suspected drug transfer off the coast of Yemen early on the morning of January 11, 2013.
“Just after midnight, while patrolling international waters off the coast of Yemen, HMCS Regina’s unmanned aerial vehicle observed a dhow transferring large bales to a small motorized skiff,” said Naval Lieutenant David Dallin, Regina’s Combat Officer. “When the ship approached and fired a flare to illuminate the area, the skiff fled the area dropping approximately fifteen bales of probable narcotics in the water as it fled. Despite a thorough search of the area, none of the bales were recovered – as they are believed to have sunk.”
Regina is currently conducting maritime interdiction and counter-terrorism operations in the Gulf of Aden as part of CTF 150. The activities of CTF 150 directly influence counter-terrorism events ashore as terrorist organizations are denied a risk free method of moving income-generating narcotics by sea. On May 5, 2012, Regina’s sister ship HMCS Charlottetown also disrupted a drug exchange and recovered 600 pounds of hashish.
“I am very proud of the way my team and equipment came together to deliver this opportunity to disrupt suspected drugs smuggling” said Commander Jason Boyd, Commanding Officer of HMCS Regina. “This is a great way to begin 2013, and I am confident that CMF units will effectively continue to disrupt the movement of illicit cargo in the area.” HMCS Regina joined CTF 150 in August of last year and will soon be replaced by another Canadian frigate, HMCS Toronto.
Commodore Charles McHardie, Royal Australian Navy, currently heads the combined Australian and Canadian staff in command of CTF 150.
“The disruption of the transfer of illicit cargo is a victory for those who work to create a lawful and stable maritime environment,” said Commodore McHardie
This interdiction is a blow for terrorists who seek to fund their activities through the transportation of narcotics on the high seas.
Commodore Hardie said the close cooperation between Canada and Australia both at sea and within the headquarters has been extremely beneficial.
“This is a good outcome and all contributors should be extremely proud of their efforts in this operation.”
CTF-150 is one of three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). CMF is a 27 nation naval partnership, which exists to promote security, stability and prosperity across approximately 2.5 million square miles of international waters covering the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean; an area which encompasses some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.