On 25 March 2018, the French Marine Nationale destroyer Jean de Vienne secured their second drug seizure this year in support of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150. A total of 530 kilograms (kgs) of heroin was seized during an operation in the international waters of the Arabian Sea. Jean de Vienne’s seizure is the tenth for CTF150 since January this year; which together with Her Majesty’s Australian Ship Warramunga and Pakistani Naval Ship Aslat totals in excess of 22 tonnes of narcotics seized.
The Jean de Vienne’s Lynx helicopter was conducting routine surveillance in the international waters of the Arabian Sea as part of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). Detecting a vessel of interest, the Jean de Vienne tracked the dhow to investigate further and determined the vessel was suspicious. Boarding teams from Jean de Vienne then conducted a non-destructive search of the vessel and found 20 bags of heroin weighing a total of 530 kgs, a street value of over $120 million USD. After a thorough search, the illegal narcotics were recorded and transferred to Jean de Vienne for safe destruction at sea.
Commander of CTF 150, Commodore Mal Wise, Royal Australian Navy, said the remarkable success of CTF 150 is due to the teamwork between partner nations within the task force and stated that: “Providing security and stability in the international waters of the Middle East is essential to ensure the free flow of commerce in the region. CMF accomplishes this through a flexible mix of nations and ships committed to working together in a common purpose. Successful operations, like the recent heroin seizure by Jean de Vienne, are a testament to the important effect strong, multinational partnerships can have in this challenging maritime environment. ”
In 2018, multinational assets in support of CTF150 have seized over 22 tonnes of hashish and over 2 tonnes of heroin, valued street value in excess of $1.6 billion USD. This is the tenth confiscation of drugs in 2018 by CTF 150, currently under Australian leadership, with a combined Australian and Canadian staff and supported by assets from a cross-section of the 32 partner nations that form CMF.