Announced 24 May, a French warship made significant strides in the fight against illegal drug trafficking, with the seizure of illegal drugs valued at $108m, while operating in the Indian Ocean between 19 April and 18 May, as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150.
The warship seize illegal drugs from four fishing vessels, confiscating 2,265kg of heroin and 242kg of methamphetamine during its routine patrol of regional waters.
The maritime forces of CTF 150 have seized illegal drugs with an estimated value of $203m in 2023, adding to record-breaking drug interdictions made by US and international naval units in 2021 and 2022, summing to a total greater than $1bn in value.
CTF 150, a task force operating under the Combined Maritime Forces, is one of five such task forces in the Combined Maritime Forces, the largest multinational naval partnership globally. The headquarters of CTF 150 is situated in Bahrain, in collaboration with the Combined Maritime Forces. The latter is under the leadership of the commander of US Naval Forces Central Command and US 5th Fleet.
According to United Kingdom Royal Navy Lt. Francis Henry, a CTF 150 staff officer in charge of coordinating the task force’s counter-narcotics operations, working with the French sailors to accomplish the mission’s objectives has been a delightful experience: “It’s been a pleasure working with the French sailors to achieve our mission’s aims together.”
In the Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, and Indian Ocean, CTF 150 is currently engaged in maritime security operations, with the aim of thwarting any destabilising activity, promoting adherence to international rules, and facilitating an unimpeded flow of trade and commerce.
On 8 May, the HMS Lancaster, operating as part of CTF 150, seized 3.2 tonnes of cannabis resin in the Arabian sea , the illegal drugs having an estimated value of £2.5m ($3m).
On 21 April, the USS Paul Hamilton, also operating as part of CTF 150, intercepted $42m in illegal drugs transiting the Gulf of Oman, including 35lbs of methamphetamine.