February 25, 2019 – More success for the French Navy as French Ship (FS) Cassard seized and destroyed 2,031 kg of hashish in the northern Arabian Sea in international waters off the coast of Oman on 22nd February, 2019. This marks the second successful boarding for FS Cassard while operating under the direction of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150. On 31st January 2019, FS Cassard seized and destroyed over 665 kg of heroin during CTF 150 focused operation MARHABA.
On this occasion, FS Cassard spotted and contacted a suspicious dhow (a traditional sailing vessel used in the Gulf). Following hails by FS Cassard, the ship conducted a boarding of the vessel, after which the Master quickly admitted the vessel was carrying drugs. A hundred bags of hashish, weighing approximately 20 kg each, were also discovered.
In reaction to the drug seizure, Commodore Darren Garnier, Royal Canadian Navy, Commander CTF 150 said: “Bravo Zulu FS Cassard for your continued support to CTF 150 operations. Our partnership and coordinated efforts are successfully contributing to maritime security in the Middle East and East African region by keeping drug money out of the hands of terrorist organizations, demonstrating the value of Combined Maritime Forces and its 33-nation coalition.”
The combined Canadian-Australian CTF-150, under the command of Commodore Garnier, is on a drug seizure streak with thirteen successful illegal narcotic interceptions in an area known as the ‘hash highway’. Since taking command on 6th December, 2018, the Task Force has now seized and destroyed over 24,000 kg of illegal narcotics.
Combined Maritime Forces is composed of thirty three nations and has three principle task forces: Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, which conducts counter-terrorism and maritime security operations; CTF 151, which conducts counter-piracy operations; and CTF 152, which conducts maritime security operations in the Middle East.
Through maritime security operations, regional engagements, and capacity building activities, CTF 150 and coalition partners work to deter and deny terrorist organizations any benefits from using the high seas for smuggling illicit cargo including narcotics, UN embargoed weapons, and Somalian charcoal.