Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 has made a third seizure of drugs in three weeks in the Arabian Sea. On 17 March, the United States Ship (USS) Laboon seized 500 kg of hashish concealed on a dhow that had been identified as likely to be conducting illicit activity.

The USS Laboon’s boarding team who only a few days earlier had boarded and seized 270 kg of heroin on another dhow, didn’t take long to find the large sacks of hashish on this latest boarding. It is another example of how effectively CTF 150 is monitoring and assessing activity in their area of operations. This is achieved by incorporating data from ‘URSA’, Canada’s satellite information downlink, with the information feed of the warships and aircraft tasked by CTF 150, plus the continuous vigilance of the merchant community.

Lieutenant Dan Foley, the boarding officer who led the team that made the seizure, credited them for their diligence and professionalism throughout the inspection and search:

“They worked tirelessly for over 14 hours to secure the illicit narcotics,” Foley said. “I cannot praise them enough for staying calm and collected in a very tense environment. Ultimately, it was a great day; we kept the drugs off the market and most importantly denied terrorist organizations from benefitting off the profits of the narcotics onboard.”

On 13 March USS Laboon intercepted a small stateless dhow in the international waters of the Arabian Sea, seizing 270 kg of heroin. On 2 March, another ship from CTF 150, the Australian HMAS Arunta, seized 800kg of Hashish, making this the third CTF 150 seizure in the last three weeks.

Commander of Combined Task Force 150, Commodore Haydn C. Edmundson from the Royal Canadian Navy, said, “These boardings, whether they result in a successful seizure or not, are some of the most complex and dangerous evolutions that our sailors conduct on the high seas. This second seizure by the USS Laboon in such a short period of time is testament to their superb training and preparedness for this task which is just one of the many missions the ship has while deployed.”

Imagery: Sailors assigned to USS Laboon inspect bags containing Hashish discovered during an inspection of a dhow in the Arabian Sea, March 17 (credit: US Navy photos)

Established in 2002, CTF 150 is primarily focused on disrupting terrorist organizations and their activities by denying them the freedom of manoeuvre in the maritime domain.  In collaboration with international and regional maritime security partners, CTF 150 teams have seized and destroyed billions of dollars in drugs and captured thousands of weapons ensuring they are no longer available to organizations that would cause others harm.