HMS Argyll's Lynx spots drug smugglers
HMS Argyll has seized cocaine with a wholesale value of £10 million from a yacht in the Caribbean, just 24 hours after helping in the aftermath of a hurricane.
The Type 23 Frigate immediately switched from conducting disaster relief duties in Bermuda where she had been assisting authorities with the damage caused by Hurricane Gonzalo.
The crew of the ship's Lynx helicopter spotted the yacht in the Atlantic and alerted the ship, which sped towards it and forced it to stop.
A search by the US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET), working from HMS Argyll, uncovered 10 bales of cocaine which was confiscated before the two crew members were taken into custody.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “This is yet another clear demonstration of the flexibility and versatility of the Royal Navy. HMS Argyll and her crew are playing a key role in disrupting the drugs trade which blights the UK.
"The British people should be proud of the work that they undertake on our behalf.”
This is HMS Argyll’s second bust in two months having seized £21 million in cocaine in August. The ship is operating as part of a 15-nation collaboration to deny criminal organisations access to regions of Central America, with a focus on arresting the illegal movement of drugs from South America to the western world.
HMS Argyll’s Commanding Officer, Commander Paul Hammond, said: “I am extremely proud of my ship’s company; we put in a significant effort to assist the citizens of Bermuda and to sail and immediately conduct a slick interception of a drug smuggling vessel demonstrates dedication and the utmost professionalism.”
Able Seaman Specialist Alex ‘JR’ Hartley said: “Life on board is hectic at the moment, I was involved in working ashore to help the locals in Bermuda after Hurricane Gonzalo and the next day I drove one of our boats out to intercept a yacht with drugs on it.
"This is just typical of our deployment to be honest, life is challenging but rewarding onboard HMS Argyll right now.”