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On Thursday 30th January 2020 while conducting counter narcotic operations in the Indian Ocean, HMS Defender seized 119 bags containing 2,420KG of hash a drug made from the Cannabis plant. This is the second Gulf drugs bust for HMS Defender.

HMS Defender an anti-air defence destroyer has been conducting patrols in the Indian Ocean to disrupt the flow of narcotics from the Makran Coast to East Africa, Yemen and Sri Lanka.

HMS Defender AO

Within 48 hours HMS Defender had a number of leads and investigated several suspect vessels culminating in the interception of a vessel carrying 2,420KG of the Cannabis derived drug.
The Dow was sighted by the ships Mk2 Wildcat Helicopter while conducting a surface search.

HMS Defender’s Wildcat helicopter is seen here circling the target dow, providing overwatch to the boarding teams approaching the vessel in their Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats

Located 7nm from the ship, the vessel displayed the combat indicators of drug trafficking, such as having no fishing gear present. The Ship came to boarding stations shortly after to intercept. On first contact the master of the vessel admitted to holding 70KG of hash.

The boarding was conducted with a small team of Royal Marine Commandos securing the vessel commanded by Lt Ben Clink RM and was followed by a Royal Navy boarding team to conduct the search commanded by Lt Stuart Campbell RN.

HMS Defender, with part of the drug seizer bagged in the foreground
A member of HMS Defender is seen here weighing and documenting one of the hash packages on the quarterdeck of HMS Defender

CTF 150 is one of the three task forces operating under the Combined Maritime Force, with a mission to promote maritime security in order to counter terrorist acts and related illegal activities, which terrorists use to fund or conceal their movements. The other task forces have missions to counter piracy and promote security in the Gulf. Not all states contributing to the CMF are involved in counter narcotics work.

The crew of HMS Defender with the 2.4 tonne drug seizure

Credit to LPhot Rory Arnold

© Crown Copyright 2020

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