The crew of the Esquimalt-based frigate HMCS Regina recently seized 2,569 kilograms of hash from a fishing vessel off the coast of Oman.
The federal government said the seizure took place on April 6 when crew saw a “suspicious” fishing vessel, known as a dhow, and stopped the boat to investigate further.
The Naval Tactical Operations Group, a Royal Canadian Navy unit that specializes in advanced boarding operations at sea, did a search of the boat and found 119 bags of hash in the ice hold. The drugs were taken to the HMCS Regina and destroyed.
This was the first seizure for HMCS Regina since it joined Operation ARTEMIS at the end of March 2019.
“This seizure is a testament to the months of hard work HMCS Regina has conducted in preparation for our operational deployment. I’m very proud of the professionalism of our NTOG team, as well as our entire ship’s company. It was an all-ship effort and we are all proud to contribute to the disruption of the trade of illegal narcotics and in promoting a safer maritime environment in the region,” Commander Jacob French, Commanding Officer HMCS Regina said in a statement.
HMCS Reginais operating in the region as part of the Canadian-led Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150). CTF 150 is a task force under Combined Maritime Forces, a naval coalition of 33 nations. The government says CTF 150 promotes security and stability in Middle Eastern and East African waters.
“Had CTF 150 not intervened, the hashish would have been sold locally, or in other markets, with the profits benefitting organized crime networks and terrorist organizations. A job well done to HMCS Regina, in their support of CTF 150’s work to promote stability in this part of the world,” CTF 150 Commander Commodore Darren Garnier said in a statement.
HMCS Regina left Esquimalt on February for a six-month deployment that includes the fuel and supply ship NRU Asterix and a CH-148 Cyclone helicopter. The deployment marks the first embarked CH-148 Cyclone detachment from 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron. The Cyclone was introduced on the Pacific coast at the start of the year as a replacement for the CH-124 Sea King.