22 Aug 2017

Royal Navy plays key role seizing drugs worth £400M

Royal Navy sailors have completed a successful five-month deployment with international partners to combat drug smuggling in the Gulf and Indian Ocean.

The UK and France commanded a multinational naval task force, which has successfully targeted eight drugs busts over the period, seizing 1.75 tonnes of narcotics worth nearly £400 million.

This included Royal Navy Type 23 frigate, HMS Monmouth seizing 265kg of heroin and 455kg of hashish worth £65 million.

Since April, British, French, US and Australian warships in Combined Task Force 150 (CTF150) took part in Operation Southern Surge to counter narcotics trafficking, which funds terrorism in the region, scoring eight drugs busts.

The naval task force polices more than three million square miles of sea in order to track down vessels smuggling drugs and weapons, as well as providing reassurance to ships using the international waters.

The multinational coalition is also focused on deterring and denying maritime terrorist activity in the region, which includes some of the world’s most vital trade routes such as the Suez Canal and Bab Al Mandeb Strait.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “The success of this joint task force with our French allies is a demonstration of Britain’s firm commitment to global maritime security and our ability to work with European allies to tackle the threat from drug smuggling.

“The money made from these nefarious criminal activities fund the terrorists who threaten us at home and abroad. As we leave the EU we will continue to work alongside our allies to tackle smuggling in the region and maintain the free flow of shipping.”

Image © Crown copyright

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