The Royal Navy have announced that Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon “pounced” on a dhow to uncover a half-tonne haul of heroin and hashish and 9kg of crystal meth.
The ship was patrolling the known smuggling route between the Makran Coast of Iran and Pakistan and East Africa when Lieutenant Jonathan Bennett, one of the officers of the watch on HMS Dragon’s bridge, spied a dhow far from the usual shipping lanes at the weekend, according to a news release from the Royal Navy.
“The haul is estimated to be worth $2m locally (£1.6m) – and far more on the streets of the UK had it reached here. Any money raised from the sales would have been ploughed back into terrorist or criminal networks in the region.
The bust came hot on the heels of a week-long visit to Goa for annual exercises with the Indian Navy and, before that, the biggest war games in Oman since 2001, plus the first chance for a British warship to work with F-35 Lightning stealth fighters on operations, courtesy of the USS Essex. ”
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“Once again, HMS Dragon has demonstrated the strength, capability and global reach of our Royal Navy. I am incredibly proud of her crew as they confirm the UK’s crucial role in tackling the illegal and destructive global drugs trade.”
Commander Michael Carter Quinn, the Commanding Officer of HMS Dragon, said:
“To achieve this seizure, so swiftly after the last, and alongside having been part of a complex warfighting exercise only a few days ago, is demonstration of the hard work and professionalism of all the Dragons on board. It serves to highlight the breadth of skills available on board HMS Dragon and the rich variety of tasks being delivered by Royal Naval Ships deployed across the globe.”
The Ministry of Defence say that HMS Dragon will be at sea over the Christmas period conducting operations as part of the international Combined Task Force 150.