The French Navy’s anti-submarine frigate Jean de Vienne seized 530 kg of heroin in the Arabian Sea this week, its second drug seizure this year.
The French defence ministry said the seizure took place on 25 March whilst the vessel was supporting Task Force 150, a naval task force operating in the Indian Ocean region.
The anti-submarine frigate, which was just finishing the Franco-Indian exercise Varuna, was sent to intercept a suspicious dhow, which was located by a Lynx helicopter. A search team boarded the vessel and found the drugs hidden in a double bulkhead.
The heroin has an estimated value of 125 million euros.
On 5 March Jean de Vienne seized over 4 tonnes of hashish during an operation in the international waters of the Arabian Sea. This was the third for CTF150 in several days, and together with Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Warramunga, the two ships had confiscated over $400 million of narcotics in 48 hours.
In 2018, multinational assets in support of CTF150 have seized over 22 tonnes of hashish and over 2 tonnes of heroin, valued street value in excess of $1.6 billion.
Commander of CTF 150, Commodore Mal Wise, Royal Australian Navy, said the remarkable success of CTF 150 is due to the teamwork between partner nations within the task force and stated that: “Providing security and stability in the international waters of the Middle East is essential to ensure the free flow of commerce in the region. CMF accomplishes this through a flexible mix of nations and ships committed to working together in a common purpose. Successful operations, like the recent heroin seizure by Jean de Vienne, are a testament to the important effect strong, multinational partnerships can have in this challenging maritime environment. ”