Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose has struck for a third time in less than five weeks. In an operation lasting ten hours, the Montrose intercepted over 2 800 kg of hashish and 50 kg of heroin in the Arabian Sea on 12 March.
The boarding team from the ship, operating in direct support of Combined Maritime Force’s (CMF’s) Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) seized the drugs – with a combined estimated wholesale value of over $4.5 million – following searches of suspicious vessels whilst undertaking a counter-narcotics patrol. This latest successful interdiction has further deprived criminal and terrorist networks of their ability to finance their operations through the transport and sale of illicit cargo, CMF said.
HMS Montrose Commanding Officer, Commander Ollie Hucker said; “It is purely coincidental that this operational success falls on my last day at sea in Command. Be it the first day or the last day, these results only happen because of the collective effort and skill of the incredibly professional, highly trained and dedicated people that the Royal Navy employ, and that I have the privilege to command.”
This is the latest in a string of successful counter-narcotics operations since the Royal Canadian Navy assumed command of CTF-150 in late January 2021. CTF-150, one of three CMF task forces, is operating in the region to disrupt criminal and terrorist organizations to prevent terrorism and the illegal trade of drugs and weapons.
As part of this, HMS Montrose alone has intercepted a combined haul of more than 6 tons over the ship’s last three interdictions, striking a tangible blow in the war against illegal drug trafficking. This is in addition to seizures by the US Navy and French Marine Nationale. Their collective success has directly contributed to maritime security operations in the Middle East, CMF said.
“HMS Montrose displayed the spirit and dedication to mission that every commander dreams of in a supporting unit. Extremely well-led, professional, and with an unmatched enthusiasm to achieve mission success, Montrose was like a thoroughbred chomping at the bit!” said Commodore Dan Charlebois, Commander of CTF-150.
“They came ready for operations, achieved two immediate successes at sea, in the form of substantial drug seizures, and fittingly, achieved a final seizure of illicit narcotics on their final day in support of CTF-150 before a very well deserved rest and maintenance period. Their contributions to maritime security in the CMF area of operations during their tenure of support cannot be overstated, and were greatly appreciated.”