NZ leads drug seizures in Indian Ocean
The Royal New Zealand Navy-led counter-narcotics operation outside the Arabian Gulf has registered its first major drug seizure while under Kiwi control.
French Marine Nationale frigate FS Languedoc earlier this week intercepted and searched a a vessel suspected of smuggling and seized more than 1525kg of hash and 166kg of methamphetamine.
The illegal cargo had a combined value of more than $US5.2 million ($NZ7.4m).
Languedoc was conducting patrols in support of the New Zealand-led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 when it seized the drugs.
“The seizure of narcotics from a dhow in the Indian Ocean is testament to the strong partnership between Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), the Marine Nationale and CTF 150, says Royal New Zealand Navy Captain Brendon Clark, commander of CTF 150.
“Languedoc has once again demonstrated that through collaboration with like-minded partners, CMF is able to seize and destroy millions of dollars’ worth of narcotics, the income from which would otherwise be used to fund illicit activities and terrorism.”
CTF 150’s mission is to disrupt criminal and terrorist organisations and their related illicit activities, including the movement of personnel, weapons, narcotics and charcoal.
It supports the Combined Maritime Force, which is a multinational maritime partnership of 34 nations upholding international rules-based order.
It counters illicit non-state actors on the high seas and promotes security, stability, and prosperity across about 8.3 million square kilometres of international waters, encompassing some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.
The New Zealand-led multinational team took over command of CTF 150 from Canada earlier this year.
New Zealand Defence Force Maritime Component Commander, Commodore Mat Williams, says it was great to have success this early in the New Zealand command.
“We are pleased to be able to make a contribution to global security and it shows the value of working together with our partners in the CMF.”