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Combined Maritime Forces in Arabian Sea carry out drug bust

By Al-Mashareq staff

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British and French forces working together as part of the Combined Maritime Forces have seized 170 kilogrammes of illegal drugs from a dhow in the Arabian Sea on October 11th. [Photo courtesy of the Royal Navy]

British and French forces working together as part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) have seized 170 kilogrammes of illegal drugs from a dhow in the Arabian Sea on Friday (October 11th), military sources said.

The suspicious vessel was located by helicopter from French frigate FS Jean Bart, Britain's Royal Navy said. A team from the French ship then boarded and secured the dhow before conducting an initial investigation.

Naval and marine forces from British frigate HMS Montrose then took over the search of the vessel, and located and seized a large number of packages containing the drugs.

Britain's Royal Navy reported that 95 kilogrammes of heroin and 75 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine, with an estimated street value of $1 million, were seized from the dhow.

According to the Royal Navy, HMS Montrose's Commanding Officer Ollie Hucker said his frigate had been conducting a replenishment at sea with a US Navy tanker in the early morning when it received the report about the dhow.

A replenishment at sea is a method of transferring fuel, munitions and stores from one ship to another while the vessels are under way.

The frigate headed to join the FS Jean Bart in the afternoon, Hucker said, noting that this demonstrates the flexibility, professionalism and very close interoperability among coalition allies.

The two vessels were operating as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, a joint command shared between the Royal Navy and French Marine Nationale.

CTF 150 is part of the CMF, a multinational naval partnership that promotes security, stability and prosperity across approximately 3.2 million square miles of international waters and some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

The main focus of the 33-nation force is defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, encouraging regional co-operation, and promoting a safe maritime environment.

So far this year, CMF warships have seized more than 2,000 kilogrammes of heroin, 130 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine and nearly 50,000 kilogrammes of hashish, British military sources said.

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