March 4, 2019 – Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon has dealt another blow to the funding of terrorism after seizing more than 2,000kg of hash with her sixth drugs bust in three months.
The Portsmouth-based warship struck again almost immediately after her fifth bust, this time seizing 101 bags of hashish while on patrol in the Indian Ocean.
The sale of these drugs is a known source of funding for terrorist organizations and criminal networks.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said, “The outstanding work of HMS Dragon’s crew continues to be a credit to Britain and its Armed Forces.
“These significant seizures stop cash flow to terrorists, hurt criminal gangs who fund them and hinder the supply of harmful drugs to streets around the world, including Britain.”
The suspect vessel was spotted by the warship’s Wildcat helicopter during a night-time sortie. After closing in on the dhow and taking a closer look, HMS Dragon decided to investigate further.
Launching her two fast sea boats, each one carrying a boarding team of sailors from HMS Dragon’s crew and Royal Marines from Plymouth-based 42 Commando, they swooped on the dhow – a type of fishing vessel common in the Middle East.
Questioning the master and his crew, suspicions were raised that the dhow was not likely to be conducting legal activities and the search began.
Lieutenant Jonathan Bennett, the officer in charge of the Royal Navy boarding team, said: “After HMS Dragon tracked the dhow overnight, the boarding teams worked hard to search for the narcotics and were able to seize 101 bags of hashish.
“The efforts of the boarding team in difficult conditions allowed the process to be quick and efficient, and we’re thrilled HMS Dragon scored her sixth drugs bust of the deployment.”
After documenting their haul, the ship destroyed the narcotics before returning to patrols. HMS Dragon will support counter narcotics operations in the region throughout the remainder of her deployment in the Middle East.
The ship is currently operating in support of Combined Task Force 150 – a multinational group which works to disrupt piracy, drug smuggling and terrorism in the Gulf.