Royal Navy warship crew intercept smugglers and seize three tonnes of hashish in the Gulf
CREW on board a Portsmouth based warship have intercepted three tonnes of hashish from smugglers in the Gulf.
The crew of Portsmouth-based HMS Dragon was on patrol in the Middle East when it sprung into action after spotting a suspicious vessel.
Royal Marines and sailors deployed from the Type 45 destroyer in fast boats and intercepted the dhow, a vessel common in the Middle East.
They searched the boat - which was stopped in the Hash Highway smuggling route - finding 148 bags of hashish weight 3,048kg.
The Royal Navy has said the seizure will deal a blow to the funding of terrorism.
Lieutenant Laurie Williams is HMS Dragon's deputy marine engineer officer, and boarding officer. He said: 'During our initial search, it became apparent there were a number of reasons to suspect the dhow could be involved in illicit activity.
'This led to a search of the vessel, where my team managed to find the concealed drugs.
'This success validates the significant hard work of all on board to ensure we were in the right place, with the right training and equipment and intelligence to achieve this result; one of the largest recent finds within this region.'
Smugglers use the Hash Highway, which runs from Afghanistan by land through Iran or Pakistan, then across the sea through to east Africa and the Middle East.
Defence secretary Gavin Williamson has praised the seizure of drugs.
He said 'Alongside keeping key shipping channels safe, countering piracy and providing disaster relief, the Royal Navy makes a significant contribution to global security by tackling the illicit drugs trade.
'The success of HMS Dragon's seizure is the latest blow struck to this nefarious industry.'
HMS Dragon has been working in the Middle East as part of the Combined Task Force 150, a multi-national organisation responsible for maintaining security in some of the world's most important shipping lanes.
She is soon due to take part in an exercise with the Indian navy.
Commander Mike Carter-Quinn, HMS Dragon's Commanding Officer, said: '˜This seizure is testament not only to days of focused hard work, but also to months of effort in preparation for HMS Dragon's operational deployment.
'˜The Dragons '“ all 260 of my crew, from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, and US Coastguard '“ have done themselves and their families proud and I couldn't be more honoured to serve with them every day.'