The Royal Navy vessel HMS Montrose, operating as part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in the Gulf of Oman, has seized over a ton of illicit drugs.
In an operation lasting almost 10 hours, a team from the warship boarded a suspect vessel in international waters off the coast of Oman and seized 663 kg of heroin, 87 kg of methamphetamine and 291 kg of hashish and marijuana, the UK Ministry of Defence announced on 23 January.
A Navy team including Royal Marines approached the small vessel on two Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBSs) before securing and searching the vessel.
The illicit substances were then brought back to HMS Montrose for analysis and destroyed.
“The Royal Navy continue to step forward with our partners in the Combined Maritime Forces to stamp out the smuggling of illegal substances,” said UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace. “As a result of this successful bust, our streets our safer and have choked off a huge source of finance to international organised crime groups.”
This is the largest Royal Navy drugs bust since HMS Montrose seized 2.4 tonnes of illicit substances in the Arabian Sea last year.
HMS Montrose has been deployed to the region since early 2019. The warship regularly works alongside international partners which make up the 34-nation coalition CMF, which was led by the Royal New Zealand Navy at the time of the drugs bust. The leadership role has now passed to the Pakistan Navy.
The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) is a multinational maritime partnership, which exists to counter illicit non-state actors.