Royal Marines “stormed” a tanker in Plymouth Sound to practise maritime interdiction operations, say the Royal Navy.
According to a Royal Navy press release, Royal Marines from 42 Commando and 47 Commando (Raiding Group) headed into Plymouth Sound to practise maritime interdiction operations (intercepting, boarding and securing vessels suspected of involvement in criminal activities).
“Waiting to be boarded: 39,000-tonne naval tanker RFA Tideforce, normally used to keep HMS Queen Elizabeth and her carrier task group topped up with fuel. Climbing up the imposing side of Tideforce was a return to more regular duties for both Royal Marines units as the nation begins to emerge from the restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemic. Teams from 42 Commando, based at Bickleigh just outside Plymouth, helped to run mobile test centres for the virus to help key workers across the south west, including sites in Torbay and Salisbury.
Stood down from those duties, the marines can focus on their usual mission – especially as both 42 and 47 Commandos are constantly held in a state of very high-readiness to deploy on operations across the globe. Once the commandos have secured the suspect vessel, a Royal Navy boarding party of trained sailors comes aboard to conduct the search for anything untoward. They’ve recently been given enhanced search kits as smugglers use increasingly devious methods to hide their illegal cargos. The combined efforts of the Royal Marines and Royal Navy boarding teams have seized or destroyed more than £150m of illegal narcotics since the beginning of 2019 in a dozen major busts, with the Indian Ocean accounting for all but two of the successes.”
Captain Jack Denniss RM, Operations Officer of 539 Raiding Squadron, was quoted as saying:
“Maintaining this level of readiness for boarding operations demands that the unique techniques and procedures needed for success must be regularly exercised in the most arduous conditions.”