Maritime Interdiction in North Arabian Sea, 4 December 2020
The guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), deployed to U.S. Fifth Fleet and operating in support of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), interdicted a shipment of more than 2,000lbs (900kgs) of suspected narcotics from a vessel in the international waters of the Arabian Sea, Dec. 4.
This seizure, conducted in direct support of CMF’s Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, marks the fourth CMF drugs seizure since October. The narcotics are currently in U.S. custody awaiting analysis. To mitigate the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19, the boarding team undertook carefully executed precautionary measures during and after the boarding, to include decontamination of all seized contraband.
Ralph Johnson initially identified a dhow loitering without power in international waters. The ship approached to determine if the dhow required assistance, and a subsequent search discovered the narcotics.
CMF is a multinational maritime partnership which exists to counter illicit non-state actors in international waters, promoting security, stability and prosperity in the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman. CTF 150 conducts maritime security operations outside the Arabian Gulf to disrupt criminal and terrorist organisations, ensuring legitimate commercial shipping can transit the region, free from non-state threats. CTF 150 is currently led by the Royal Saudi Naval Force, the second time the country’s Navy has led the task force.