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NEWS | March 20, 2008

Naval forces halt illegal shipping

By None , 5th Fleet Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (March 20, 2008) – Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) operations in the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden, have succeeded in disrupting the transit of contraband, narcotics and alcohol in recent weeks.

As part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, Canadian multi-purpose frigate HMCS Charlottetown (FFH 339), guided-missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) and USS Carney (DDG 64), Royal Navy frigate HMS Argyll (F 231), and French frigate FS Guepratte (F 714) have all worked together in partnership with regional nations to halt criminal activities.

Several seizures of narcotics and alcohol with a street value of over $30 million resulted from these coordinated multinational maritime operations.

“Coalition efforts build a lawful maritime order for regional security,” said Deputy Combined Maritime Forces Royal Navy Commodore Keith Winstanley. “When we work as a Coalition with regional partners, we are able to complement regional countries efforts and really make a difference.”

The most recent interception of contraband occurred March 12 in the Gulf of Aden by Charlottetown, who stopped illegal smuggling activities conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO).

Charlottetown boarded a dhow and discovered approximately 1.7 tons of hashish worth several million dollars. The drugs were disposed of at sea and the vessel was held until local authorities arrived.

In February, Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) ships performed several at-sea rescues of mariners in distress. Feb. 3, Charlottetown rescued two Pakistani mariners adrift on a barge in the North Arabian Sea; Feb. 14, CTF 150 helped coordinate a medical evacuation from a Greek merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden; Feb. 22, USNS Sacagawea (T-AKE 2) responded to a merchant vessel’s request for rescue and medical attention with assistance from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 7, assigned to USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and Royal Navy landing ship RFA Cardigan Bay (L 3009).

Since the Sept. 11 attack, CMF have focused their efforts to disrupt terrorist activities by targeting these criminal activities. Coalition ships assigned to CTF 150 operate throughout the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. Task Force 150 is commanded by French Navy Rear Adm. Jean L. Kerignard.

Maritime Security Operations help set the conditions for security in the maritime environment, which promotes stability and global prosperity. These operations complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists’ use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.