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Third drug seizure by Kiwi-led naval operation around Arabian gulf

A Royal New Zealand Navy-led Combined Task Force has achieved another successful counter-narcotics operation, with the seizure of illicit drugs that would otherwise have been sold to fund terrorist and criminal organisations.

10 November, 2021

RNZN Captain Brendon Clark, who is commanding the Combined Task Force 150 (CTF150) based in Bahrain, said a French Navy ship working as part of CTF150 had seized 378kg of heroin from a vessel in the Arabian Sea.

This seizure followed two counter-narcotics operations in September by another French Navy ship working as part of the task force.

Captain Clark said the French naval ship FS Floreal joined CTF150 recently “ready for action”.

“Her dedication has been rewarded with a high-value seizure of 378kg of heroin worth more than $US4 million from a vessel in the Arabian Sea. 

“This latest seizure is another great example of collaboration across the like-minded partner nations working together to disrupt terrorist and criminal organisations,” he said.

Multiple drug packages lined up on board French ship FS Floreal, as personnel expertly handle them in protective gear.

Crew aboard French Navy ship FS Floreal have seized drugs as part of Combined Task Force 150 counter-narcotics operations in the Arabian Sea. Photo supplied.

Prices for illicit drugs vary throughout the world. The prices tend to increase significantly once they hit the streets at their final destination. 

In September, the French Marine Nationale frigate FS Languedoc, operating in support of CTF150, conducted two intercepts and seizures.

One intercept resulted in more than 1,525kg of hash and 166kg of methamphetamine with a combined value of more than $US5.2m being seized.

Seven days later, the frigate intercepted another vessel, resulting in the confiscation of 3,600kg of hash, valued at $US1.8m.

Criminal and terrorist organisations use the proceeds of sales of narcotics to obtain weapons, ammunitions and equipment and for training for criminal and terrorist activities. 

CTF150 is one of three task forces of the Combined Maritime Forces. Its mission is to disrupt criminal and terrorist organisations and their illicit activities, including the movement of people, weapons, narcotics and charcoal. 

CTF150 conducts maritime security operations outside the Arabian Gulf to ensure that legitimate commercial shipping can occur freely.

The New Zealand-led multinational team will command and staff CTF 150 until early 2022.