MEDITERRANEAN DRUGS SEIZED BY HMS RICHMOND
ROYAL Marines aboard HMS Richmond recovered drugs worth around £3m during a security patrol in the Mediterranean.
The Type 23 frigate had sent up her Lynx from 815 NAS to survey the area when aircrewmen spotted a suspicious craft and moved in to investigate.
As the Lynx neared the vessel, crew members could be seen throwing packages overboard into the sea.
The packages, which contained cannabis, were fished out of the water by a Royal Marines boarding team which had been sent in a RIB from Richmond.
The drugs boat quickly fled the scene whileRichmond’s team recovered 1,015kg of cannabis that was bound for mainland Europe and potentially the UK.
Officials estimate the drugs would have had a value of around £3 million had they reached the streets of the UK.
Richmond’s CO Cdr Mark Anderson said: “The Mediterranean is a known route for smuggling drugs into Europe and the UK. As soon as the smugglers were detected it took minutes to launch the ship’s boarding team and intercept and recover the drugs.”
Capt Paul Simmons, who is in charge of the boarding team, added: “The team remains at high readiness throughout their time onboard for exactly this type of situation. With the assets available in HMS Richmond we can detect smuggling vessels over large distances, close with the location and quickly move to intercept.”
Since deploying in March this year,Richmond has assisted in the interception of £26.5 million worth of heroin in the Indian Ocean, and disrupted people trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea as part of the European Union-led Operation Sophia helping to save hundreds of lives in the process.
Richmondis due to return to Portsmouthnext week, while the Lynx will return to its home at RNAS Yeovilton.