The crew of the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender has intercepted a suspicious dhow in the northern Arabian Sea and seized $4.3 million worth of methamphetamine.
The discovery came thanks to the alertness of Defender’s helicopter crew during a dawn patrol over the northern Arabian Sea. The Wildcat crew located a solo dhow not flying any flag or showing any evidence that it was involved in fishing.
That prompted the destroyer to investigate, sending Royal Marines across in sea boats to secure the dhow and its crew. Royal Navy sailors conducted a thorough search of the vessel while the Wildcat hovered overhead to provide protection.
The sailors located 11 mail-bag-sized sacks, some weighing up to 15-20 kilograms and suspected of containing crystal methamphetamine. The total haul came to more than 130 kilos.
“After all the training and preparation, it was fantastic to have the opportunity to demonstrate our capability with a successful boarding. It’s the best Christmas present we could hope for,” said Lieutenant Ben Clink, the officer in charge of the Royal Marines detachment aboard Defender.
HMS Defender has been deployed to the Middle East since August, devoting the bulk of her time to safeguarding merchant shipping entering and leaving the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz. More recently, she’s joined the international task force dedicated to stopping terrorists smuggling arms, people or drugs in the Indian Ocean. Proceeds from the sale of these drugs is known to fund organized crime and terrorism.
Earlier this year HMS Defender’s sister HMS Dragon notched up a record eight busts operating with Combined Task Force 150, while most recently frigate HMS Montrose – on patrol in the Gulf over the Christmas period – seized more than $1.3 million of illegal narcotics in joint bust with the French Navy in October.
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