HMS Westminster seizes US$ 22 million worth of heroin while on Indian Ocean patrol
The Portsmouth-based warship intercepted a suspicious dhow in the Indian Ocean, seizing over 70 bales containing more than 180kg of pure heroin.
The discovery of the drugs occurred when HMS Westminster's Merlin helicopter and combined Royal Marines and Royal Navy boarding teams received orders to search for, intercept and board a suspicious vessel.
They did, and found more than 70 bales of pure heroin, weighing more than 180kg (nearly 400lbs), on the dhow; it is estimated that the drugs have a street value of US $22m - almost £14m.
HMS Westminster is operating under the banner of Combined Task Force 150, one of three task forces co-ordinated by the international Combined Maritime Forces, with the aim of defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, stopping the illegal trafficking of people and drugs, and promoting the maritime environment as a safe place for mariners with legitimate business.
The warship was directed to seek out the suspicious dhow by the Royal Australian Navy's Commodore Jonathan Mead, who is in charge of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150). He said that HMS Westminster's success was 'a dark day for terrorists', and the second major bust by the force in the past few weeks: