HASHISH worth nearly $200 million has been seized in the Arabian Sea, taking the total worth of narcotics seized at sea since December 2017 to more than $1 billion, it was revealed.
In the latest incident on Tuesday, Pakistan Navy Ship (PNS) Aslat which was conducting routine patrols in the area spotted “a dhow of interest”.
The ship requested permission from the Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 to conduct a flag verification boarding.
Once the dhow was determined to be without nationality, Aslat was authorised to conduct a non-destructive search of the dhow during which five tonnes of hashish, valued at more than $197m, were found.
The illegal narcotics were catalogued and disposed off safely, according to a statement.
CTF 150 Commander Commodore Mal Wise, of the Royal Australian Navy, said the ongoing success of the force was due to the interoperability between partner nations.
“CTF 150 is a multinational task force working together to promote security and stability throughout our area of operations.
“The recent seizure with PNS Aslat highlights the expertise and local operational knowledge of our partner navies that is key to achieving success.”
Since November 2017, when the Royal Australian Navy took charge of CTF 150, more than 16 tonnes of hashish and 1.5 tonnes of heroin, valued in excess of $1bn, have been seized.
This is the sixth confiscation of drugs by CTF 150 which has a combined Australian and Canadian staff supported by assets from partner nations like Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the UK and the US.
Tuesday’s seizure follows similar operations on December 28, January 2, 7 and 23, and February 1.
The multinational CTF 150 targets terrorists and related illegal activities in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman. The naval force operates under Bahrain-based Combined Maritime Forces which also runs CTF 151 for anti-piracy operations and CTF 152 which patrols the Arabian Gulf.