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HMS Trent deploys to hunt drugs smugglers

7 December 2023
A Royal Navy warship has been deployed to hunt drugs smugglers in the Caribbean Sea.

HMS Trent usually operates in the Mediterranean and off Africa’s west coast as part of a long-term security mission, but is heading for the Caribbean to clamp down on drugs runners. 

The patrol ship arrives in the region to replace destroyer HMS Dauntless, which seized more than £200m worth of cocaine during a highly fruitful hurricane season deployment.

Fellow River-class Batch 2 HMS Medway usually patrols the Caribbean but has been in the South Atlantic – operating around the Falkland Islands – while sister ship HMS Forth underwent extensive maintenance.

With Forth now back in her regular stomping ground, it has freed Medway up to get some much-needed maintenance herself and paved the way for Trent to head to the Caribbean. 

In August, HMS Trent was deployed to the Gulf of Guinea to deliver training to countries across the region, aiding the fight against maritime crime, including piracy and armed robbery.

Her sailors have been conducting post-deployment maintenance over the last month, working hard to ensure the ship is fighting fit for the Caribbean.

Sub-Lieutenant Tom Bartlett said: “Our tour of the Gulf of Guinea was a great opportunity to train with and build relationships with partner nations. The crew have thoroughly enjoyed their time in Gibraltar whilst we prepare for our new adventures.”

During HMS Trent's time in West Africa, she travelled as far as Nigeria, visiting seven countries in total, providing support for local navies, hosting local dignitaries in each stop and contributing to maritime security operations. 

Royal Marines also conducted training with African nations on boarding and close quarter battle techniques. As well as boarding training, Trent conducted damage control training and navigation training with African navies allowing for the exchange of ideas and will set the groundwork for future deployments.

As a culmination of Trent’s time in West Africa she participated in exercise Grand Africa Nemo (GANO) a multinational exercise spanning across and including nations within the Gulf of Guinea and West Africa international countries such as the US and France. The focus of GANO was to test and develop African nation’s responses to maritime security threats such as piracy and drug smuggling. 

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