A Royal New Zealand Navy-led counter-narcotics operation has led to the seizure of more than $7.4 million in hash and methamphetamine from a dhow outside the Arabian Gulf.
It's the first major drug seizure for the Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 after the New Zealand-led multinational team took over command from Canada earlier this year, the New Zealand Defence Force said on Friday in a statement.
French Marine Nationale frigate FS Languedoc earlier this week intercepted and searched an Arab sailing vessel suspected of smuggling and seized more than 1525kg of hash and 166kg of methamphetamine.
The Languedoc was conducting patrols in support of the CTF when it seized the drugs.
“The seizure of narcotics from a dhow in the Indian Ocean is testament to the strong partnership between Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), the Marine Nationale and CTF 150," the commander of CTF 150, Royal New Zealand Navy captain Brendon Clark, said.
“Languedoc has once again demonstrated that through collaboration with like-minded partners, CMF is able to seize and destroy millions of dollars’ worth of narcotics, the income from which would otherwise be used to fund illicit activities and terrorism.”
CTF 150’s mission is to disrupt criminal and terrorist organisations and their related illicit activities, including the movement of personnel, weapons, narcotics and charcoal.
It supports the Combined Maritime Force, a multinational maritime partnership of 34 nations upholding international rules-based order across 8.3 million square kilometres of international waters.
New Zealand Defence Force Maritime Component Commander, Commodore Mat Williams, said that it was great to have success this early in the New Zealand command.
“We are pleased to be able to make a contribution to global security and it shows the value of working together with our partners in the CMF.”