Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon was on patrol in the Middle East when they came across a suspicious dhow – a common fishing vessel in the Middle East – in a notorious drug smuggling route known as the ‘Hash Highway’.
After a raid by Royal Marines and ship’s crew the boat was searched and 148 bags of hashish, weighing around 3,048kg, were discovered.
Commander Mike Carter-Quinn, HMS Dragon’s Commanding Officer, said: “This seizure is testament not only to days of focused hard work, but also to months of effort in preparation for HMS Dragon’s operational deployment.
“The Dragons – all 260 of my crew, from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, and US Coastguard – have done themselves and their families proud and I couldn’t be more honored to serve with them every day.”
Hailing the mission, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Alongside keeping key shipping channels safe, countering piracy and providing disaster relief, the Royal Navy makes a significant contribution to global security by tackling the illicit drugs trade.
“The success of HMS Dragon’s seizure is the latest blow struck to this nefarious industry.”
The ‘Hash Highway’ runs from Afghanistan, a major drugs producer, by land through Iran or Pakistan, and then across the sea to countries in east Africa and the Middle East.
Profits from drug smuggling are a known source funding for terrorist organisations and criminal networks.
Lieutenant Laurie Williams is HMS Dragon’s deputy marine engineer officer, and boarding officer. He said: “During our initial search, it became apparent there were a number of reasons to suspect the dhow could be involved in illicit activity.