Her Majesty’s Ship (HMS) DEFENDER, a UK Royal Navy destroyer operating in the Gulf of Oman in direct support of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), seized 131 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine from a dhow they had been following, on December 19.
The suspicious vessel was first detected using DEFENDER’s ‘WILDCAT’ shipborne helicopter. DEFENDER then closed the dhow and a team of Royal Marine Commandos in Pacific 24 sea boats boarded and secured the vessel. It was then searched by a Royal Navy boarding team who found 11 packages of narcotics, with an estimated regional wholesale value of $280,000 US dollars.
” HMS DEFENDER’s haul, on their first day working under Combined Maritime Forces, is CTF150’s largest interdiction of crystal methamphetamine for 2019; more than doubling the amount seized so far. It takes CTF150’s overall narcotics seizures this year to $48.5m.
“This is the second narcotics shipment in a week we’ve kept from reaching its destination,” said Commodore Ray Leggatt, Royal Australian Navy, Commander of CTF 150. “With this action and more to come, we are impacting terrorists’ ability to operate in this region and around the world.
Australia assumed command of CTF 150 in early December, with a staff made up of personnel from the Royal Australian, Royal Canadian, and Royal New Zealand navies. HMS DEFENDER’s success under their command follows that of French Ship Courbet last weekend, who seized 3,545kg of hashish with an estimated regional wholesale value of $1.8m.
CTF150 has seen a huge increase in the amount of crystal methamphetamine being smuggled year on year, with 257kg interdicted to date in 2019, versus only 9kg in 2018. CTF 150’s mission is to disrupt terrorist organizations and their related illegal activities by restricting their freedom of manoeuvre in the maritime domain. The activities of CTF 150 are a critical part of global counter-terrorism efforts, as terrorist organizations are denied a risk-free method of conducting operations or moving personnel, weapons or income-generating narcotics and charcoal.