Royal Navy warship, HMS Dragon, concluded its operations under the command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 on a high note with two final drug seizures before heading back to its homeport of Portsmouth, England.
On March 14, 2019, the Type 45 destroyer completed its seventh drug bust when the crew spotted a dhow (local fishing vessel) while passing through the northern Arabian Sea. After a boarding and search of the vessel, 224 kg of heroin was seized.
Only a few days later, on March 17, while transiting home off the coast of Oman, HMS Dragon spotted another dhow they that could be smuggling drugs. HMS Dragon’s boarding team conducted a search of the vessel which resulted in a seizure of 125 bags of hashish, totaling in 2,560 kg.
HMS Dragon has seen significant success under CTF 150 command. This marks the seventh and eight illegal narcotic seizure for HMS Dragon, who now holds the Royal Navy record both for the number of successful busts and the total weight of drugs seized by a Royal Navy ship in the region.
Earlier in the deployment, in December 2018, HMS Dragon broke its first record when the ship conducted the largest drug haul in Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) history, seizing and destroying just shy of 10,000 kg of illegal narcotics from two dhows while under CTF 150 command.
As HMS Dragon concludes its tour under CTF 150 command, Commodore Darren Garnier, Royal Canadian Navy, Commander CTF 150 said: “HMS Dragon’s operational success under CTF 150 has been instrumental in deterring and denying terrorists use of the high seas for illegal smuggling, causing disruption to the funding of terrorist networks and criminal activity. As we bid farewell to HMS Dragon, I want to pass on my thanks and best wishes to the ship’s company.”
The Canadian-led CTF 150 Task Force, supported by the Royal Australian Navy, has now directed and overseen seventeen successful illegal narcotic interceptions in an area known as the ‘hash highway’. Since taking command on December 6, 2018, the Task Force has now seized and destroyed 31,215.28 kg of illegal narcotics.
Combined Maritime Forces has three principle task forces: Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, which conducts counter-terrorism and maritime security operations; CTF 151, which conducts counter-piracy operations; and CTF 152, which conducts maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf.
Through maritime security operations, regional engagements, and capacity building activities, CTF 150 and coalition partners work to deter and deny terrorist organizations any benefits from employing the high seas for smuggling illicit cargo including narcotics, UN embargoed weapons, and Somalian charcoal.