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Published: 13 Jun 2016

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.

The dhow was secured by the Royal Marine Boarding Team with the support of HMS Defender's Lynx helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron based at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton.

The Royal Navy Boarding team began its search and once the drugs had been discovered they were transferred to HMS Defender for analysis by the Royal Navy Police before being destroyed.

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.”

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.

HMS Defender is one of the Royal Navy's six Type 45 Destroyers. The primary role of these ships is air defence, but their versatility makes them ideal for a wide range of maritime security tasks, such as this interdiction and boarding operations.


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