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Royal Navy-led international force seizes drugs in Gulf of Oman

Royal Navy-led international force seizes drugs in Gulf of Oman
2 February 2023
A task force led by the Royal Navy has made a huge drugs seizure in the Gulf of Oman.

US Coast Guard cutter the Emlen Tunnell was patrolling regional waters in support of Combined Task Force 150 when it seized 4,000 kg of hashish and 512 kg of methamphetamine from a fishing vessel.

The drugs have a total estimated UK wholesale value of £13.2 million.

CTF 150 is one of four task forces organised under the Combined Maritime Forces and the organisation’s first drugs bust of 2023.

“This is just the beginning of our work in delivering maritime security operations in the region to stop illicit activities and drug smuggling,” said Royal Navy Captain James Byron, the CTF 150 commander.

“This comes as a result of a valued partnership between CTF 150 and all partner nations in Combined Maritime Forces.”

Captain Byron assumed command of the multinational task force on January 18 after Royal Saudi Navy Rear Adm. Abdullah Al-Mutairi led the unit for six months.

Captain Byron is supported by international staff made up of Officers and sailors from the Royal Navy, Royal New Zealand Navy and Marina Militare (Italy).

This is the 11th time the Royal Navy have taken command of the task force, tasking international warships and aircraft to patrol the Indian Ocean and waters of the Middle East to deter terrorism and illicit activities which support it, such as drugs smuggling.

Since 2021, CMF has interdicted $1 billion worth of illicit narcotics during maritime patrols. CMF is the largest international naval partnership in the world consisting of 38 member-nations and partners.

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