French ship Nivose seizes heroin off Somalia


Within a month of joining Combined Task Force 150 (CTF150), the French frigate Nivose has seized 251 kilograms of heroin in the latest success for the Marine Nationale (French Navy) in the Indian Ocean.

The ship, whose home base is in the French overseas department of Réunion, is currently conducting operations in support of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). CMF is a global maritime partnership of 32 nations aligned in common purpose to conduct Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in order to provide security and stability in the maritime environment, CMF said.

On 8 June, the Nivôse conducted a boarding of a dhow off the coast of Somalia. Having reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel was carrying illicit narcotics, the ship’s Commanding Officer requested permission to conduct a search of the vessel from Commander CTF150. The resulting search discovered 251 kilograms of heroin, worth an estimated $2.6 million (approximately €2.2 million) in East Africa. The illicit narcotics were subsequently seized and destroyed by the crew of the Nivôse.

This is just the latest in a series of seizures by the Marine Nationale, complementing those made by the French warships Jean de Vienne and La Fayette in recent months. In total, the three ships have been responsible for seizing 6 tonnes of hashish and nearly 1,200 kilograms of heroin whilst supporting CTF150 operations over the last three months.

Combined Maritime Forces said these seizures impact on the ability of terrorist organizations to fund their illegal activity and is a key aim of CTF150, along with the interdiction of illicit weapons and charcoal. Established in 2002, CTF 150 in collaboration with international and regional maritime security partners has seized and destroyed billions of dollars in drugs and captured thousands of weapons.

CTF150 is currently being led by the UK, but the headquarters staff also features members of three other nations, including five French personnel from the Marine Nationale. Commander CTF150, Commodore Steve Moorhouse OBE Royal Navy, said “This seizure by the Nivôse further demonstrates both the professionalism of the Marine Nationale and the commitment made by France and other CMF partners to ensuring that terrorist organizations are denied the use of the high seas for their illicit activity”.