Esquimalt-based HMCS Regina makes fourth drug bust in Middle East

Ship has seized about 9 tonnes of narcotics since April 6

Esquimalt-based HMCS Regina has made its fourth drug bust in about one month’s time.

On May 3, the ship seized over two tonnes of hashish in the Northern Arabian Sea. In total, HMCS Regina has seized about 9 tonnes of narcotics since April 6.

According to a Canadian Armed Forces Operations Facebook post, HMCS Regina deployed its Naval Tactical Operations Group boarding team after spotting and approaching a suspicious vessel off the coast of Oman.

READ MORE: Esquimalt-based HMCS Regina makes third drug bust in two weeks

The team conducted a search and found 100 bags of hashish hidden in the vessel.

“The boarding team and HMCS Regina’s ship’s company worked tirelessly in heat reaching (47 C) to transfer the hashish to HMCS Regina for destruction,” the post reads.

The drug seizures are part of Operation ARTEMIS, the Canadian Armed Forces contribution to counter-terrorism and maritime security operations in the Middle East.

The warship is operating in the region as part of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) which is currently being led by Pakistan. CTF 150 is a task force under the Combined Maritime Forces, which is a naval coalition of 33 nations.

The task force works primarily to stop terrorist organizations from smuggling weapons, illicit cargo and narcotics while protecting merchant shops.

READ MORE: Esquimalt-based HMCS Regina seizes three tonnes of hashish in second drug bust

READ MORE: Esquimalt-based HMCS Regina seizes 2.5 tonnes of hashish in Indian Ocean

“These seizures continue to ensure that profits made from selling illegally smuggled narcotics are staying out of the pockets of terrorist and criminal organizations, while also protecting the legitimate and global trade that Canada and the world depend on,” the Facebook post reads.

On April 18, HMCS Regina seized 1.5 tonnes of hashish and 10.5 kilograms of heroin while deployed in the Indian Ocean. On April 15, the ship seized over three tonnes of hashish and on April 6 it seized more than 2.5 tonnes of hashish. Both of those seizures took places off the coast of Oman.

HMCS Regina joined operation ARTEMIS at the end of March.

The ship departed for a seven-month deployment to the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions on Feb. 6. It was accompanied by the Asterix, a replenishing ship filled with fuel and supplies, as well as a Cyclone helicopter from the maritime helicopter squadron task force. This is the first deployment for the Cyclone unit.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


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