On Sunday, 5 January 2020, French Ship (FS) COURBET, in direct support of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), seized 1,500 kg of hashish from a vessel in the Arabian Sea.
This is the second seizure for frigate FS COURBET in the last 30 days and the third for Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) since Australia assumed command in early December 2019.
Using their shipborne helicopter, FS COURBET detected the suspicious vessel and dispatched a boarding team to conduct a search. The team was able to uncover 1,500 kg of hashish hidden among unused fishing gear.
The estimated regional wholesale value of these narcotics is $780,000 U.S. dollars. The retail value of this shipment, had it reached Africa or Europe, is many times higher.
“To the terrorists who profit from the drug trade in this region, the loss of this shipment and two others in the last 30 days, represents a considerable hit to their funding,” said Commodore Ray Leggatt, Royal Australian Navy, the Commander of CTF 150.
He added “CTF 150 will continue to apply pressure with the help of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) participating nations and ships like FS COURBET. The crew of FS COURBET has been outstanding every time they have supported CTF 150 and we thank them for another job well done.”
Australian lead, CTF 150’s staff is made up of personnel from the Royal Australian, Royal Canadian, and Royal New Zealand navies. CTF 150’s mission is to disrupt terrorist organisations and their related illegal activities by restricting their freedom of manoeuvre in the maritime domain.
The activities of CTF 150 are a critical part of global counter-terrorism efforts, as terrorist organisations are denied a risk-free method of conducting operations or moving personnel, weapons or income-generating narcotics and charcoal. The cooperation and support of CMF participating nations including France is a key mission enabler.
The 33 nations of CMF work together with regional and other partners to improve overall security and stability in the Gulf, help strengthen regional nations’ maritime capabilities, and when requested, respond to environmental and humanitarian crises. This counter narcotics operation is just the latest example of cooperation in action.