International naval force operation seizes 2 tons of narcotics

The French-UK led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 seized nearly two tons of narcotics in the last two months during an operation called Southern Surge.

The seizures included 1250 kg of heroin and 455 kg of hashish.

Narcotics trafficking, particularly heroin, has long been associated with funding terrorism. It is estimated by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that opiate-derived monies account for more than 10 per cent of Afghanistan’s GDP, and 50 per cent of the Taliban’s funding. Approximately 95 per cent of European heroin originates in Afghanistan.

French frigates Surcouf and Nivose, British frigate HMS Monmouth, Australian frigate HMAS Arunta and US destroyers USS Truxtun and USS Hue City have all conducted multiple boardings of suspicious dhows, resulting in the seizure and destruction of narcotics.

Most of the seizures involved combined action between the warships and maritime patrol aircraft from France, Denmark and New Zealand, which supported the operation. These aircraft search wide areas of ocean in order to locate suspicious dhows, before passing their positions to the warships to intercept and board the vessels.

“I am delighted by the successes of Operation Southern Surge and wish to commend all those that have contributed. The cooperation, coordination and tenacity of the units from seven nations that have directly supported CTF 150 over the past two months has been exceptional, and showcases the spirit fostered within the Combined Maritime Forces,” said CTF 150 Commander Rear Admiral Olivier Lebas.

Established in 2002, CTF 150 is primarily focused on disrupting terrorist organisations and their activities by denying them the freedom of manoeuvre in the maritime domain. In collaboration with international and regional maritime security partners, CTF 150 teams have seized and destroyed billions of dollars in drugs and captured thousands of weapons ensuring they are no longer available to organisations that would cause others harm.

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