An Esquimalt-based ship seized more than 2.5 tonnes of hashish while deployed in the Indian Ocean. disrupting the trade of illegal narcotics according to the Department of National Defence
On April 6, HMCS Regina spotted a suspicious fishing vessel known as a dhow off the coast of Oman and stopped the boat to investigate further.
The ship deployed its Naval Tactical Operations Group (NTOG) team, a dedicated Royal Canadian Navy unit that specializes in advanced boarding operations at sea.
The team searched the dhow and located 119 bags of hashish in the ice hold. The hashish was transferred to HMCS Regina and subsequently destroyed.
“The seizure is a testament to the months of hard work HMCS Regina has conducted in preparation for our operational deployment,” said Cmdr. Jacob French, commanding officer for HMCS Regina. “I’m very proud of the professionalism of our NTOG team, as well as our entire ship’s company.”
French said the seizure “contributed to the disruption of the trade of illegal narcotics and in promoting a safer maritime environment in the region.”
This was part of Operation ARTEMIS, an ongoing contribution by the Canadian Armed Forces to counter-terrorism and maritime security operations in Middle Eastern and African waters.
This is the first seizure for HMCS Regina since it joined Operation ARTEMIS at the end of March.
The warship is operating in the region as part of the Canadian-led Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), a task force under the Combined Maritime Forces, which is a naval coalition of 33 nations that promotes security and stability in Middle Eastern and East African Waters.
The task force works primarily to stop terrorist organizations from smuggling weapons, illicit cargo and narcotics, while protecting merchant shops.
“Had CTF 150 not intervened, the hashish would have been sold locally, or in other markets, with the profits benefiting organized crime networks and terrorist organizations,” said commodore Darren Garnier, a Royal Canadian Navy commander with CTF 150.
HMCS Regina 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.