Over a 24 hour period, Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 seized 4 085 kg of illegally smuggled hashish from two separate boarding operations by warships operating in the Arabian Sea.
On 27 February, Royal Navy warship, HMS Dragon, found a dhow off the coast of Oman in the Northern Arabian Sea which they assessed to be suspicious. HMS Dragon’s boarding team conducted a search of the vessel which resulted in a successful seizure of 100 bags of hashish, totalling 2 040 kg.
The next day, on 28 February, Royal Australian Navy warship, HMAS Ballarat, also sailing off the coast of Oman, conducted a similar operation. A boarding and search operation of the dhow resulted in 2 045.60 kg of hashish being seized.
In reaction to the drug seizures, Commodore Darren Garnier, Royal Canadian Navy, Commander CTF 150 said: “HMS Dragon and HMAS Ballarat have been instrumental in reducing the use of the high seas as a venue for illegal activities. These two very capable warships and their ships’ companies have each conducted six seizures to date, ensuring the funding of illegal narcotics is staying out of the hands of potential terrorist organizations. Bravo Zulu HMS Dragon and HMAS Ballarat for your continued support to CTF 150 operations.”
Combined Maritime Forces has three principle task forces: Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, which conducts counter-terrorism and maritime security operations; CTF 151, which conducts counter-piracy operations; and CTF 152, which conducts maritime security operations in the Middle East.
Captain Leif Maxfield, Deputy Commander CTF 150 added: “I am extremely proud of the hard work and meaningful interoperability between the international ships under our command and our CTF 150 Battle Watch. Our successes demonstrate the value the Combined Maritime Forces coalition brings to the table in improving maritime security in the area of operations.”
The Canadian-led CTF 150 Task Force, supported by the Royal Australian Navy, has now directed and overseen fifteen successful illegal narcotic interceptions in an area known as the ‘hash highway’. Since taking command on 6 December 2018, the Task Force has now seized and destroyed over 28 000 kg of illegal narcotics.
The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) is a multinational task force currently comprised of 33 nations. CMF operates three Combined Task Forces (CTFs) in order to conduct Maritime Security Operations. CTF 150 responsible for maritime security and counter terrorism operations. CTF 151 responsible for counter piracy operations. CTF 152 responsible for maritime security and counter terrorism with the Gulf.