The Royal Navy’s HMS Defender has seized over a metric tonne of high grade hashish being trafficked across the Indian Ocean yesterday.
HMS Defender, working for Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), under the auspices of the Royal Navy-led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, intercepted a suspect fishing dhow off the south coast of Oman on 7th June. Following an extensive search, 51 bales of hashish were discovered, each weighing 20kg, a total haul of 1020kg.
This seizure marks the latest in a series of successes for CTF 150 after successful boardings by HMAS Darwin and French Ship Nivose at the end of May resulted in a combined haul of over a metric tonne of heroin. The success of CTF 150 is due to multi-national co-operation. The latest seizure, though co-ordinated by the UK-led team in Bahrain and carried out by HMS Defender, was supported by a United States P-8 Poseidon, a Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA). The MPRA searched vast expanses of ocean and helped HMS Defender identify the suspect vessel from legitimate traders and fishing vessels.
Commodore Guy Robinson OBE RN, the Commander of CTF 150 said: “While my mission is much broader than just counter-narcotics, I am delighted that we have dealt another blow to those that seek to use the sea for their illicit activity, so soon after the seizure of over a tonne of heroin by CTF 150 ships. The real strength in CMF is the international cooperation at sea and in the air, demonstrated fully in this seizure.”
After the dhow was secured by the Royal Marine Boarding Team with the support of HMS Defender’s Lynx helicopter, the Royal Navy Boarding team began its search. This operation lasted throughout the day and into the evening. Once the drugs had been discovered they were transferred to HMS Defender for analysis by the Royal Navy Police before being destroyed.
Commander Steve Higham, the Commanding Officer of HMS Defender added:
“This has been a fantastic example of co-operation between maritime forces in disrupting the flow of illegal narcotics. The Ship’s Boarding Teams, in fact all of the Sailors and Royal Marines in HMS Defender, are delighted to have contributed to this enormous seizure.”
CMF is the world’s most successful maritime counter terrorism enterprise, continuing to set records in heroin and hashish seizures on the high seas, thereby denying terrorists vital funding. Commanded from its Headquarters in Bahrain and comprising 31 contributing nations, CMF executes its vital mission through three Combined Task Forces across nearly 3.2 million square miles of ocean bordered by 21 countries.
CTF 150 is primarily focused on disrupting terrorist organisations and their unlawful activities by restricting freedom of manouevre in the maritime domain. In collaboration with regional and other partners CTF 150 promotes maritime security by denying terrorist organisations their ability to move personnel, weapons or narcotics.