(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The UK Royal Navy frigate HMS Northumberland pursued and snatched a pair of skiffs running drugs in the Sea of Oman recently, stopping more than RO3.14mn worth of cannabis resin from entering illegal markets in the region.
Having identified two suspicious high-speed skiffs during a routine patrol, the Plymouth-based frigate embarked on a 30-mile pursuit, intercepting the skiffs with her Merlin helicopter and combined Royal Navy and Marine boarding teams, according to the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD). Whilst in pursuit of the smugglers the pursuing teams witnessed approximately 60 bales being thrown overboard.
Seven of the bales were subsequently recovered by HMS Northumberland's sea boat and Merlin helicopter and were found to contain pure cannabis resin. Almost 1,500kg was thrown overboard by the drug runners.
Commander Johnny Ley, staff operations officer UK Maritime Component Command, said, ''The air in the operations room here as we followed Northumberland's pursuit in real time was electric. When the skiffs were intercepted there was a buzz and a real sense of a job well done.''
The Type-23 frigate is operating under the banner of Combined Task Force 150, one of three such task forces coordinated by the international Combined Maritime Forces, with the aim of defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, and stopping illegal trafficking of people and drugs. HMS Northumberland was toured by Prince Charles while moored at Port Sultan Qaboos on Monday as part of his official three-day state visit to Oman.