Portsmouth Warship Seizes Three Tonnes Of Hashish

26 November 2018, 14:50

HMS Dragon drugs bust

A Royal Navy warship has seized three tonnes of cannabis after boarding a dhow in the Gulf.

Sailors from Portsmouth-based HMS Dragon intercepted the boat while on patrol in the area of the Middle East known as the Hash Highway.

On board they found 148 bags of hashish weighing 3,048kg.

A navy spokesman said: "Swooping into action, sailors and Royal Marines from HMS Dragon launched their fast boats to intercept and board the vessel, before conducting a painstaking search of its compartments."

Lieutenant Laurie Williams, the Type-45 destroyer's boarding officer, said: "During our initial search, it became apparent there were a number of reasons to suspect the dhow could be involved in illicit activity.

"This led to a search of the vessel, where my team managed to find the concealed drugs.

"This success validates the significant hard work of all on board to ensure we were in the right place, with the right training and equipment and intelligence to achieve this result, one of the largest recent finds within this region."

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 navy spokesman explained that the Hash Highway runs from Afghanistan by land through Iran or Pakistan and then across the sea to countries in east Africa and the Middle East.

He added: "Profits from drug smuggling are a known source funding for terrorist organisations and criminal networks."

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 honoured to serve with them every day."