CTF 150 reaches halfway mark, celebrates success

FS Courbet’s boarding team searches a dhow in the Gulf of Oman while the ship stays close. Courbet’s boarding team found and seized 1.5 metric tonnes of hashish from this vessel. The estimated regional wholesale value of the drugs was $780,288 U.S. - worth many times more on the street. Photo provided by Marine Nationale

FS Courbet’s boarding team searches a dhow in the Gulf of Oman while the ship stays close. Courbet’s boarding team found and seized 1.5 metric tonnes of hashish from this vessel. The estimated regional wholesale value of the drugs was $780,288 U.S. – worth many times more on the street. Photo provided by Marine Nationale

Lt(N) Tony Wright, CTF 150 Public Affairs Officer ~

The present rotation of Combined Task Force 150, led by Australia and supported by Canada and New Zealand, reached its halfway point Jan. 22, with a boastful 8,000 kilograms of narcotics seized.

CTF 150, headquartered in the Kingdom of Bahrain, is one of three combined task forces within Combined Maritime Forces. Thirty-three member nations work together to promote security, stability, and prosperity across approximately 3.2 million square miles of international waters, which encompass some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

It has been nine weeks since Australia assumed command with nine more to go until command is passed to the incoming French-led rotation.

Day to day, the CTF 150 Battle Watch and staff direct ships from participating countries to conduct maritime security operations so legitimate commercial shipping can freely transit the region, and to seek out and seize drug shipments and other illicit cargo that fund and support terrorist operations in the region and around the world.

Eight days after Australia assumed command of CTF 150 on Dec. 5, 2019, they had their first drug seizure.

French Ship (FS) Courbet, a frigate of the French Marine Nationale, seized 3,500 kilograms of hashish from a dhow in the Gulf of Oman.

Not to be outdone, Her Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Defender of the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy followed less than a week later with a seizure of 131 kgs of crystal methamphetamine.

Five days into 2020, FS Courbet seized another 1,500kg of hashish from a dhow in the Arabian Sea. On Jan. 17 and 18, ship and crew were at it again. In 24 hours, Courbet’s boarding teams conducted three boardings and searches. The third search netted 3,000kg of hashish from a vessel sailing in the Gulf of Oman.

Those drugs have an estimated regional wholesale value of $4.3 million U.S. Had these drugs reached their intended destination, the street value would have been many times more.

“We trained hard and prepared for this mission,” said New Zealand’s Capt Sean Stewart, Deputy Commander of CTF 150. “The results we’ve had so far with the support of the French Marine Nationale and the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy are brilliant, but we are not going to slow down. Right up to the last day, we are going to push hard and keep up the pressure on those who exploit the maritime domain for illegal purposes.”

Filed Under: Top Stories

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