Royal Navy heads up global anti-terror task force in the Gulf

Defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon speaking on board HMS Queen Elizabeth as the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier sets sail from Lossiemouth for the latest in a series of sea trials on Monday, July 24. Picture: PO PHOT Ray Jones/MoD/PA Wire

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ROYAL Navy teams from Portsmouth are to direct an international effort to stifle terrorist activity in the Indian Ocean from next month.

A battle staff from HMS Excellent in Portsmouth will head to the Gulf to take charge of Combined Task Force 150.

They will be responsible for policing more than two million square miles of sea hunting for vessels smuggling weapons and drugs which either fund or support terrorism.

Earlier this month, the Royal Australian Navy’s frigate HMAS Darwin bagged a sizeable weapons haul on a dhow – nearly 2,000 AK47 rifles, 100 rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, machine-guns will now never reach the hands of fundamentalists as well as a large haul of drugs used to fund terrorists.

The British-led staff – personnel from the Royal Navy will be joined by RAF and Royal Marines, plus officers from Nato and regional navies – have gone through a thorough combined assessment at their headquarters on Whale Island to prove they are ready to direct the challenging operation.

It will be the 12th time since 2001 the Royal Navy has taken the reigns of the task force.

They will be in command of the operation for the next four months.