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HMS Defender tackles drug traffickers off Oman

Defender tackles drug traffickers off Oman
The Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender has seized over a tonne of hashish being trafficked across the Indian Ocean.

HMS Defender, working on counter narcotics and counter terrorist operations under the Royal Navy-led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), intercepted a suspect fishing dhow off the south coast of Oman on Tuesday.

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.

Once the drugs had been discovered they were transferred to HMS Defender for analysis by the Royal Navy Police before being destroyed.

It’s satisfying that we have dealt another blow to those that seek to use the sea for their illicit activity

Commodore Guy Robinson RN

In all 51 bales of drugs were found, each weighing 20kg and making a total haul of 1,020kg of high grade hashish.

The drugs seized have an estimated street value of around £5.6 million.

The latest seizure was supported by a United States P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA).

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “This operation shows the Navy is working to tackle threats not just near our shores but also across the globe.” 

Commodore Guy Robinson, the Commander of CTF 150 said: "While our mission is much broader than counter-narcotics, it’s satisfying 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 other CTF 150 ships.

“The real strength in Combined Maritime Forces is the international cooperation at sea and in the air, demonstrated fully in this seizure."

Commander Steve Higham, the Commanding Officer of HMS Defender added: "This has been a fantastic example of cooperation 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."

The Royal Navy has a long association with CMF, a multi-national naval partnership, which is designed to promote security, stability, and prosperity in the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, and the Gulf region, an area comprising 3.2 million square miles.

CTF 150's principal mission is to disrupt terrorist organisations and their unlawful activities by restricting freedom of manoeuvre at sea, including tackling the narcotics trafficking that funds terrorist activities.

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