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Royal Navy seizes more than one tonne of illegal drugs in gulf region |26 January 2022

Royal Navy seizes more than one tonne of illegal drugs in gulf region

The illicit drugs seized by sailors and Royal Marines from HMS Montrose is worth an estimated wholesale value of £15 million (~R260 million)

Sailors and Royal Marines from HMS Montrose – a Royal Navy warship operating as part of the 34-nation Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) – has seized over 1 tonne of illicit drugs, north of Seychelles’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Gulf of Oman – worth an estimated wholesale value of £15 million (~R260 million).

HMS Montrose – tasked with protecting the interests of the UK and its allies – was patrolling for a New Zealand-led task force in the Gulf of Oman, when she encountered a suspect vessel.

The boarding team – which included Royal Marines – quickly approached the vessel on two rigged hulled inflatable boats, before securing and searching it. The illicit substances were then brought back to HMS Montrose for analysis and destroyed.

In an operation spanning ten hours, sailors and Royal Marines seized a tally of 663kg of heroin, 87kg methamphetamine and 291kg of hashish and marijuana.

This latest operation is now the seventh seizure undertaken by the frigate in the Middle East, where it has been operating permanently for nearly three years.

These busts have deprived criminals and terrorists of just under £80 million (~R1.4 billion) of funding in total.

The significance of this seizure demonstrates the commitment of the UK and its international partners to combat the threats posed by the trafficking of illegal narcotics, a challenge which Seychelles remains susceptible to, and which serves to threaten maritime security in the region.

Commenting on the seizure, HMS Montrose’s commanding officer, Commander Claire Thompson, said:

“A seizure of this size will deal a huge blow to the criminal or terrorist gangs using these illegal narcotics to fund their activity. Disrupting the terrorist organisations, criminals and their funding lines is key to keeping the rest of the world safe. Today, we have disrupted the unlawful use of the sea. This not only supports our coalition partners, but also supports stability in this part of the world.”

Commenting on the seizure, Major Renny Bulmer MBE – the UK’s liaison officer to the Regional Maritime Security Centres in Seychelles and Madagascar – and responsible for defence liaison with the Seychelles Defence Forces – said:

“The Royal Navy is committed to the counter-narcotics fight in the region, and the prevention of harm that this trade can do to communities around the world, including Seychelles. The UK government and Armed Forces worked closely with our Seychellois colleagues on the fight against piracy. We are committed to working just as closely in combatting the threat that the trade in illegal narcotics poses to Seychelles, the region and to countries and communities around the world.”


Press release from the British High Commission

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