The Royal Navy warship HMS Dauntless successfully disrupted the activity of the illicit drug trade in the Caribbean region, it announced on 3 November, intercepting 330kg of cocaine, valued at £60m, and scuttling the traffickers 35-foot speedboat with Royal Marine sniper-fire.
During a standard counter-narcotics patrol of the Caribbean Sea, Dauntless deployed her Wildcat helicopter and a team of Royal Marines snipers to approach the suspected vessel. When the smugglers decided to discard their unauthorised cargo, the commando snipers disabled the engines. A US Coast Guard team then deployed from Dauntless and collected the 11 bales of cocaine.
Dauntless was deployed to the Caribbean in May to collaborate with British Overseas Territories during the region’s hurricane season, while also contributing to the global efforts against drug smuggling.In this role, Dauntless collaborates closely with U.S. authorities, partnering with a US Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Team known as a law enforcement detachment. This team is deployed with the authority to board and search suspect vessels.
During the same patrol, the Dauntless closed in on a separate speedboat suspected of being used to smuggle illegal drugs and dispatched a US Coastguard detachment to board and search the small speedboat. The Royal Navy was then forced to launch a rescue operation for the other vessel as it began to sink, which the Royal Navy claims was the result of sabotage by the speedboat’s crew, ultimately rescuing two people who were cared for and then transferred to a US Navy ship the next day.
Following this bust, the Portsmouth-based destroyer Dauntless has now intercepted over £200m in drugs since it deployed to the Caribbean in May. During the summer, the Dauntless team seized drugs worth £140m, weighing 1,230kg, and went onto alert US authorities to a suspicious aircraft flying from Venezuela, later seized by ground forces and found to be holding 550kg of cocaine.
Dauntless‘ Commanding Officer, Commander Ben Dorrington, expressed his satisfaction with another successful operation conducted by his team, finding their work ethic and commitment to detail continue to be exceptional, as evident in their interdiction operations over the past few months.
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He added: “The ship’s company have once again proved their resilience whilst in theatre, being able to adapt extremely efficiently to the ever-changing environment we work in.”
In addition to the ship’s impressive range of sensors and radars, Dauntless is equipped with a Wildcat helicopter and a team of highly skilled Royal Marines snipers from 42 Commando. These assets play a crucial role in conducting reconnaissance, surveillance, and providing aerial support during challenging and potentially hazardous boarding operations.