Late last week the Royal Navy carried out a drugs bust on a fishing dhow in the Indian Ocean, destined for East Africa and with a street value of around £65million.
Commander Ian Feasey of HMS Monmouth a type 23 Frigate commissioned in 1993 designed to hunt for submarines said: “the haul included 445 kg of cannabis and 266 kg of heroin hidden in the fishing vessel’s deep freezer”.
“Such a substantial seizure of drugs deals a significant blow to the international narcotics trade which is known to provide funding for terrorist organisations”.
A boarding team was dispatched in two patrol boats, known as Pacific-24s (PAC24s) from HMS Monmouth when the dhow started acting suspiciously.
Lieutenant Alison Ross, one of HMS Monmouth’s boarding officers, said: “After such a long search I had doubts we would find anything, but the reactions of the crew to our activity in certain areas was enough to convince us that there was illegal cargo”.
“Eventually the breakthrough was made and we could bring the operation to a close, having successfully put a stop to the progress of the drugs”
Lieutenant Commander Mike King who is the Weapons Engineering Officer (WEO) on board said they were unable to establish the nationality of the transporters of the drugs since none of them had passports and other travelling documents.
“They were absolutely false fishermen who lacked passports to tell their nationalities and every bit of what they told us was falsehood,” he said.
He indicated that the 11 sailors aboard the vessel had forged manifests that could not specify the port of origin and the final destination, making it difficult for them to prosecute.
“We took the drugs onto HMS Monmouth, weighed and photographed before unwrapping the whole consignment and dumping the drugs into the sea to stop them from being used to finance organised crime and terrorism and destroy stability of this region,” Commander Feasey said.
British High Commissioner Nic Hailey, who visited the 225 navy sailors, said the proceeds of the haul, had it not been detected, would have been used to finance criminal activities in the countries around the Indian Ocean.
“It’s a massive achievement. We are also working together with Kenyan Navy to protect the maritime border, so that people will not smuggle illegal weapons. It is a symbol of a growing defence relationship between Kenya and British Navy”.
HMS Monmouth will now continue its patrols of the Indian Ocean as part of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF150), a coalition of warships with a mission to promote maritime security in order to counter terrorist acts and related illegal activities.