HMCS Toronto Intercepts Drugs Smuggling in Arabian Sea

Canadian Ship HMCS Toronto made an important drug seizure on Saturday, October 5 during her patrol in the Arabian Sea region, while deployed on Operation Artemis.

This drug seizure marks HMCS Toronto’s seventh narcotics shipment disruption as part of ongoing counter-terrorism operations in the Indian Ocean.

“Canada remains steadfast in its involvement in the fight against terrorism with our maritime allies of Combined Maritime Task Force 150,” said the Hon. Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence. “The recent drug seizure made by the crew of HMCS Toronto demonstrates the skills and experience our country brings to the multinational effort.”

HMCS Toronto intercepted and boarded a suspected smuggling vessel approximately 500 nautical miles east of the Horn of Africa, and discovered 154 bags of heroin weighing more than 180 kilograms. The illicit narcotics were then catalogued and later destroyed, thus ensuring they would not reach their intended recipients.

 “I’m extremely proud of the work Toronto’s team, and all those on whom we rely for support, have done to achieve this success,” said the Commanding Officer of HMCS Toronto, Commander Matthew Bowen. “A positive outcome like this, seizing and disposing of illegal narcotics whose sale would have funded extremist groups, is a big win for Canada’s counter-terrorism efforts.”

To date, HMCS Toronto has recovered approximately 7.8 metric tonnes of narcotics. On March 29, 2013, a massive narcotics shipment in the Indian Ocean was disrupted, when the ship’s naval boarding team recovered approximately 500 kilograms of heroin, while another boarding action on May 30, 2013, recovered approximately 5950 kilograms of hashish.

HMCS Toronto is a Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class Frigate deployed with a crew of 258 members, including a CH-124 Sea King air detachment and Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle on board.

Operation Artemis is Canada’s contribution towards maritime security and counter terrorism, under the command of the Combined Maritime Forces 150.

Press Release,October 7, 2013