HMS Montrose Seizes Third Drugs Haul in Five Weeks

Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel from HMS Montrose stand with more than 6,200 lbs of narcotics seized from a vessel in the Arabian Sea, March 12, 2021 (Photo: AET Josh Edwards RN)
Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel from HMS Montrose stand with more than 6,200 lbs of narcotics seized from a vessel in the Arabian Sea, March 12, 2021 (Photo: AET Josh Edwards RN)

Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose has struck for the third time in less than five weeks. In an operation lasting 10 hours, the Montrose intercepted over 6100 lbs (2800 kg) of hashish and 110 lbs (50 kg) of heroin in the Arabian Sea, March 12, 2021.

hms montrose carrying out duties, protecting british shipping in the gulf.
Hms Montrose Carrying Out Duties, Protecting British Shipping In The Gulf.

The boarding team from the ship, operating in direct support of CMF’s Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) seized the drugs – with a combined estimated wholesale value of over $4.5 million – following searches of suspicious vessels whilst undertaking a counter-narcotics patrol. This latest successful interdiction has further deprived criminal and terrorist networks of their ability to finance their operations through the transport and sale of illicit cargo. 

HMS Montrose Commanding Officer, Commander Ollie Hucker said; “It is purely coincidental that this operational success falls on my last day at sea in Command. Be it the first day or the last day, these results only happen because of the collective effort and skill of the incredibly professional, highly trained and dedicated people that the Royal Navy employ, and that I have the privilege to command.”

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The Wildcat helicopter and boarding team from HMS Montrose approach a suspicious dhow in the Arabian Sea, March 12, 2021. A subsequent search of the dhow led to the discovery of over 6,200 lbs of narcotics. (Photo: Lt Cdr Tom Thicknesse RN)

This is the latest in a string of successful counter-narcotics operations since the Royal Canadian Navy assumed command of CTF-150 in late January 2021. CTF-150, one of three CMF task forces, is operating in the region to disrupt criminal and terrorist organizations to prevent terrorism and the illegal trade of drugs and weapons. 

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A team from HMS Montrose boards a suspicious dhow in the Arabian Sea, March 12, 2021. After searching the vessel, the team uncovered over 6,200 lbs of narcotics, which were subsequently destroyed at sea. (Photo: Lt Cdr Tom Thicknesse RN)

As part of this, HMS Montrose alone has intercepted a combined haul of more than 1300 lbs over the ship’s last three interdictions, striking a tangible blow in the war against illegal drug trafficking. This is in addition to seizures by the US Navy and French Marine Nationale. Their collective success has directly contributed to maritime security operations in the Middle East. 

“HMS Montrose displayed the spirit and dedication to mission that every commander dreams of in a supporting unit. Extremely well-led, professional, and with an unmatched enthusiasm to achieve mission success, Montrose was like a thoroughbred chomping at the bit!” said Commodore Dan Charlebois, Commander of CTF-150. 

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Boarding teams from HMS Montrose approach a suspicious vessel in the Arabian Sea, March 12, 2021. Later searches conducted by the teams uncovered over 6,200 lbs of narcotics. (Photo: Lt Cdr Tom Thicknesse RN)

“They came ready for operations, achieved two immediate successes at sea, in the form of substantial drug seizures, and fittingly, achieved a final seizure of illicit narcotics on their final day in support of CTF-150 before a very well deserved rest and maintenance period.  Their contributions to maritime security in the CMF area of operations during their tenure of support cannot be overstated, and were greatly appreciated.” 

CTF 150

Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) is one of three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). CTF150 conducts Maritime Security Operations (MSO) outside the Persian Gulf to ensure that legitimate commercial shipping can transit the region, free from non-state threats.

CTF 150’s mission is to disrupt criminal and terrorist organizations and their mandated related illicit activities by restricting their freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain. CTF150’s activities deny criminal and terrorist organizations a risk-free method of conducting operations or moving personnel, weapons, or income-generating narcotics and charcoal.

HMS Montrose

HMS Montrose is the Royal Navy’s Forward Deployed Frigate and has been in the region since early 2019. The UK actively supports several operations and multi-national task forces in the Middle East in order to protect international and British interests.

HMS Montrose is the eighth of the sixteen-ship Type 23 or Duke class of frigates, of the Royal Navy, named after the Duke of Montrose. She was laid down in November 1989 by Yarrow Shipbuilders on the Clyde and was launched on 31 July 1992. She was commissioned into service in June 1994.


Check out Naval Library App to find out the specifications of HMS Montrose.

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