Warships Seize Taliban Drugs/Maritime Aspects of Current Ops

Discussion in 'Royal Navy' started by Yokel, Jul 12, 2008.

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  1. See here.

    Commodore Keith Winstanley, Commander of Royal Navy forces in the Gulf, said: "The scourge of illegal drugs is one of the gravest threats to the long-term security of Afghanistan, and a vital source of funding for the Taliban warlords who seek violence against Afghan, British and Nato forces.

    "Our mission in Afghanistan is one of absolute importance and by seizing these drugs, we have dealt a significant blow to the illegal trade. News of these successes has been kept quiet for operational reasons, but I am delighted that the tremendous efforts can now be recognised."

    He said coalition forces had seized more than 30 tonnes of illegal drugs over the past five months - with more than 70 per cent as a result of Royal Navy interceptions. HMS Chatham and HMS Montrose worked with the Portsmouth-based destroyer HMS Edinburgh in the operations.

    They were supported by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary helicopter support ship Argus and her Sea King aircraft.

    Sailors and Royal Marines from the ships discovered hidden drugs while they were often operating in the most unpleasant conditions.

    Commodore Winstanley stressed that coalition forces had worked together, and said tactical command at sea had been overseen by Pakistani, French and Canadian task force commanders.

    Commander Martin Connell, commanding officer of HMS Chatham, said the result was "really positive", but said it was all in a day's work for the crew. "We managed to locate the vessel and then conduct a very unpleasant boarding in demanding conditions," he said.

    "My sailors and Marines did an outstanding job in managing to locate six tonnes of illegal narcotics plus other significant intelligence."
     
  2. brettarider

    brettarider On ROPs


    Boadring party forget to charge their Ipod's before the off then
     
  3. "...seized more than 30 tonnes..."

    We'll be seeing it landed on a quayside sometime soon then?
     
  4. To be honest, I was hoping for a more positive response to this story - also mentioned here and here.

    "The scourge of illegal drugs is one of the gravest threats to the long term security of Afghanistan, and a vital source of funding for the Taliban warlords who seek violence against Afghan, British and NATO forces. Our mission in Afghanistan is one of absolute importance and by seizing these drugs we have dealt a significant blow to the illegal trade.

    "The scourge of illegal drugs is one of the gravest threats to the long term security of Afghanistan, and a vital source of funding for the Taliban warlords who seek violence against Afghan, British and NATO forces."

    "News of these successes has been kept quiet for operational reasons, but I am delighted that the tremendous efforts can now be recognised."


    Later on...

    Seizures by coalition naval forces over the past five months total 30 tonnes, over 70 per cent of which (23 tonnes) were down to Royal Navy interceptions.

    There were several reasons I thought this worth noting...

    1. Even an operation in a land locked nation has a maritime dimension (interdict drugs/weapons/terorists being smuggled, providong maritime security including force protection for equipment bound for Afgahnistan), and other things.
    2. Significant numbers of RN assets are currently deployed, the augmentation of 3 Cdo Bde is on top of that.
    3. Despite the early retirement of the Sea Harrier (see here or here if that doesn't work), naval aviation continues to play a key role in UK operations. This interdiction involved Sea King ASaCs helicopters from RFA Argus.
     
  5. The page on the RN site which shows current deployments is a little of of date, but does show that the Navy is busy. Those of you who think maritime security operations are waste of time should reflect on the consequences of a single sucessful terrorist attack against a supertanker, or another maritime target.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. msr

    msr LE

    The success of this operation will surely be reflected in higher street prices, oh yes, it will :roll:

    30 tonnes is not even a drop in the ocean, so to speak.

    msr
     
  7. That might well be true, but there are other things terrorists may seek to smuggle by sea.
     
  8. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    I'm actually rather impressed that the Navy is doing all these anti-drug ops, and they've had significant successes all around the globe.

    In peacetime (so to speak), they've got a very useful and worthwhile role IMHO in doing this job.
     
  9. The only dedicated anti drugs deployments are in the Carribean (combined with providing support in the event of a disaster due to the weather, some defence diplomacy, and some exercises with the US), although RN (and RAF) assets may be involved in seaborne drugs busts as and when needed.

    The operations in the Middle East are part of the war on terror, and are intended to make life harder for terrorists as well as pirates, smugglers and the like. They re there to deter attacks against international shipping, and to counter smuggling of drugs, weapons, explosives or people, and to ensure that if an incident did occur, coalition forces can respond at very short notice. Some of these activities are in direct support of operations ashore in Iraq or Afgahnistan.

    Maritime Security Operations
     
  10. msr

    msr LE

    The trouble is that all the 'busts' are just part of doing business in the drugs world, one which the UK Govt alone has gifted a tax free turnover of several billion pounds pa.

    The RN can do what they like, but the market (i.e. reality) will determine the price - and it ain't rising.

    msr
     
  11. That might be true, but if drug smuggling can be interdicted, or illegal immigrant smuggling, then so can weapon or terrorist smuggling. NATO and other partners put a lot of effort into keeping a handle on maritime traffic. A vessel going from (say) Pakistan to the Horn of Africa would attract attention (and probably a boarding party).

    I believe that there have been sucesses in this type of operation, although deterrence is more of an outcome than attrition.
     
  12. The vast majority of these interdictions, notice I don't say seizures, is cannabis. There are enough alternative sources of that commodity to meet UK demand; e.g. North Africa, Albania (unlikely) and the cannabis factory down on Acacia Avenue so the loss of 30 tonnes at that point in the supply chain probably won't impact the UK market. (Although 236 tonnes being destroyed in one go might!)

    But whilst those 30 tonnes won't impact the UK in terms of consumption there's still 30 tonnes worth of revenue which won't be going into the coffers of the insurgency.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. BiscuitsAB

    BiscuitsAB LE Moderator

    Maybe if the Navy were allowed to sell it and keep the proceeds?
     
  14. :) I like your "speed camera" reasoning; what will I do with my cut? another aircraft carrier perhaps?
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  15. How do you think illegal immigrant smuggling can be interdicted on the high seas? They're not illegal immigrants until they enter someone's territorial waters. Article 108 of UNCLOS provides the basis in international law for acting against drug traffickers, there's no equivalent in terms of people smuggling; at a very long stretch it might be possible to argue Article 110 is applicable in cases of people trafficking rather than smuggling but I don't think we'll see the RN being the ones to test that principle. The bottom line is that drugs are illegal everywhere, people on the other hand aren't.

    The only reason for an RN vessel to get involved with a people smuggling boat in international waters is if there are SOLAS issues on the boat, and then there's the risk of the illegals claiming asylum if they get aboard the RN vessel. So the RN steer clear of that sort of thing.