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.


  1. Can that hangar really hold two wildcats? I would like to see our destroyers that have wildcats operating two wildcats in a war situation, surely better than 1, does Dragon operate any drones like Scan Eagle to help in anti drug operations?. Anyway nice photo op and drug bust that’s one for the fammily album, but I do wonder how much gets lost on the ship ?.

    • I think I’ve seen a photo floating around of two squeezed into a T45 hanger.
      Like Daniele points out we ordered so few of them it doesnt like like we need to worry about it.

  2. For me the usual issue with this is a billion pound destroyer intercepting dhows when our high end assets are limited.

    Wouldn’t a T31 type vessel with helicopter and RM be more suitable? Or even a RFA type vessel acting as mothership to smaller River type vessels, RM, and Heli?

    • They’ve had three busts now and keep getting the value wrong in the press, apart from a lot of hashish there has also been mass of heroin and meth found so there is significantly more in value than stated. They also act as deterrents to make it harder for the drugs running to happen. And don’t forget this isn’t the only thing they are deployed to do but merely in addition. But then no matter what I say I’m sure you’ll never change your mind because I bet you’re one of those people that think the military aren’t necessary anymore…

  3. Most coalition military vessel passing through the area gets chopped to CTF 150 with responsibilities for that area.

    HMAS Warramunga was doing a lot of work intercepting drugs this year and had a massive haul of Hash, heroin etc during her stint on Op Manitou . She stopped over 2 billion AUS dollars worth (street value) which consisted of some 2 tonnes of Heroin and 30+ tonnes of Hash.
    If HMS Dragon managed a bust in just the short time she was in the area you can imagine the amount of “Gear” that is being moved across that area of sea. Almost every vessel in CTF 150 makes a bust a week.


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