Navy’s Swift Actions Pay Off: £10 Million Worth of Drugs Seized in Indian Ocean Raids

…By Judah Olanisebee for TDPel Media. Royal Navy Intercepts £10 Million Worth of Drugs in Indian Ocean Operations

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Over the course of 12 hours, the Royal Navy successfully boarded two ships in the Indian Ocean and Gulf, resulting in the seizure of over £10 million worth of drugs.

The operations involved the deployment of Marines who conducted raids at dawn and dusk, uncovering large quantities of narcotics.

HMS Lancaster, a Type 23 frigate, not only carried out these searches but also collaborated with the US Navy to provide assistance to a harassed merchant vessel.

Dawn Raid:

During a dawn mission, a team of Royal Marines, specialized in boarding operations, located and intercepted a suspect vessel that had been under surveillance since the early hours of the morning.

The search led to the discovery of 3.5 tons of narcotics.

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Dusk Raid:

Later that evening, HMS Lancaster’s Wildcat helicopter identified another craft, prompting the boarding team to take swift action once again.

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This time, they seized an additional 3.7 tons of drugs, completing an impressive double drugs bust.

Significance of the Seizures:

These recent drug captures add to the success of HMS Lancaster, which previously confiscated £2.5 million worth of hashish.

The sheer magnitude of the hauls was evident from the images depicting bags of narcotics covering a significant portion of the frigate’s deck.

The seized drugs were later destroyed to ensure they would never enter the market in the UK or elsewhere.

Commander’s Pride and Recognition:

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Commander Tom Johnson, the Commanding Officer of HMS Lancaster, expressed immense pride in his team’s accomplishments, especially in executing two boardings within such a short timeframe and under challenging conditions.

He acknowledged the collective effort of his team, as well as the collaboration with various international support organizations, which contributed to this remarkable outcome.

Support Operations and Maritime Security:

In addition to the drug operations, HMS Lancaster participated in maritime security operations in the Straits of Hormuz.

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This included providing assistance, alongside US sailors, to a merchant vessel that had encountered harassment from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

The situation de-escalated, and the merchant ship continued its transit without further incident.

The Importance of the Strait of Hormuz:

The Strait of Hormuz is a crucial region where approximately 20% of the world’s oil passes through.

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It is known for its volatility, as it faces challenges such as piracy and geopolitical tensions.

The UK and US navies maintain a presence in the area to safeguard maritime security and counter illegal activities.

Origin and Disruption of the Drugs:

Investigations into the seized narcotics indicated that the vessel had likely started its journey from the Iranian coast before acquiring the drugs at sea from another vessel.

The successful seizure prevented these illegal substances, weighing 10.4 tons in total, from reaching the streets.

Collaboration and Recognition:

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Captain Will Paston, the Deputy UK Maritime Component Commander in Bahrain, commended the technical expertise, tactical proficiency, professionalism, and thoroughness demonstrated throughout the boarding process.

He attributed the successful seizures to the unwavering dedication of HMS Lancaster and the wider supporting team in Bahrain.

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Supporting Merchant Vessels:

HMS Lancaster also provided support to a merchant vessel that reported harassment by small craft.

The frigate’s Wildcat helicopter assessed the situation and relayed real-time information to the Commanding Officer, enabling the merchant vessel to continue its journey safely.

Enduring Presence and Mission:

HMS Lancaster’s activities in the Middle East form part of the UK’s long-term commitment to the region.

The frigate’s three-year mission involves collaborating with allies to maintain maritime security and combat illegal activities.

Notably, HMS Lancaster played a significant role in the evacuation of British nationals from Sudan during a period of unrest in the country.

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