DRUG dealers and terrorists have been dealt a major blow by a Royal Navy warship after it helped to seize 170kg of narcotics – worth more than £800,000.
Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose worked alongside French frigate FS Jean Bart to make the drugs bust in the Arabian Sea.
The two warships intercepted a dhow boat carrying 95kg of heroin and 75kg of crystal methamphetamine.
The suspicious vessel was spotted by a French helicopter and detained by forces from the FS Jean Bart.
Personnel from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines then conducted a search of the vessel, where they found a ‘large number of packages’.
Commander Ollie Hucker, HMS Montrose's commanding officer, praised the efforts of his crew.
He said: ‘I am immensely proud of my ship’s company who have all played their part in tackling the international drugs trade from the sea and have prevented the landing of these drugs in other countries, perhaps even the streets of the UK.
‘Seizures like these put a dent in the funding of wider illicit and illegal activity.’
Narcotic smuggling in the region is a critical lifeline for funding terror groups and criminal gangs, with the estimated haul coming to more than one million US dollars, the Royal Navy said.
Plymouth-based Montrose – which will soon call Portsmouth home – had been undergoing at sea replenishment with a US tanker when she was alerted by the French frigate.
The two ships were operating as part of a multinational task force, responsible for counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics operations across the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.
Head of the task force, Commodore Ed Ahlgren of the Royal Navy, said the bust was a ‘testament to the outstanding teamwork’ of allied nations.
‘HMS Montrose responded in a tradition I would expect from the Royal Navy,’ he added. ‘Her ship’s company showed true professionalism and grit in the manner in which they conducted the boarding – collectively as a UK-French endeavour, we have now successfully stopped this particular illegal cargo reaching other regions of the world and probably prevented well over a million dollars of funding for those who would wish to do us harm.’
More than 50 tonnes of illegal drugs have been seized by allied warships in the region so far this year.