PHOTEX: Royal Navy frigate HMS Argyll port visit to Key West, Florida

130822-N-YB753-004 KEY WEST, Fla. (Aug. 22, 2013) The Royal Navy frigate HMS Argyll (F231) approaches the Mole Pier. British Royal Navy Sailors pulled into Key West for a port visit after completing counter-narcotics operations in the Eastern Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian Morales/Released)

130822-N-YB753-027 KEY WEST, Fla. (Aug. 22, 2013) Sailors handle mooring lines as the Royal Navy frigate HMS Argyll (F231) approaches the Mole Pier. British Royal Navy Sailors pulled into Key West for a port visit after completing counter-narcotics operations in the Eastern Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian Morales/Released)

HMS Lancaster seizes multi-million narcotics haul in Caribbean

HMS Lancaster, a Royal Navy Type 23 frigate, battling narcotics trafficking in the Caribbean as part of her duties assigned to Atlantic Patrol Task (North).

{cough… show of hands… old farts who still call it the West Indies guard ship…}

HMS Lancaster seizes multi-million pound cocaine haul

HMS Lancaster made the bust after the boat – concealed by a tarpaulin – was spotted by a US Customs and Border Agency aircraft in the Caribbean Sea.

HMS Lancaster in the Caribbean Sea. During the six-month deployment Lancaster will visit all of the British Overseas Territories in the region, as well as numerous Commonwealth and Caribbean nations. These visits will provide the opportunity to train with other navies as well as demonstrate the Royal Navy’s continued commitment to the region. In between visits, Lancaster will be conducting counter narcotics patrols in conjunction with the US Coast Guard but will remain at high readiness throughout the deployment to provide support and life saving assistance in the wake of a hurricane or other natural disaster. Image by LA(PHOT) Jay Allen

The Portsmouth-based frigate sped to the area and launched her Lynx helicopter and high-speed pursuit boat to intercept the 30ft vessel with three suspected smugglers on board. As Lancaster approached, the men attempted to dispose of the evidence by throwing one bale of drugs overboard, but these were quickly recovered by the boat crew.

A huge haul of well over 600kgs of cocaine will never reach the streets of the UK after a major bust by Royal Navy warship HMS Lancaster. Image by LA(PHOT) Jay Allen

A total of 22 bales of pure cocaine were seized along with the three men on board who, ultimately, were fully compliant with the Royal Navy and US Coastguard team. The suspected smugglers and cocaine were then handed over to the Coast Guard Cutter Sapelo and then the authorities in Puerto Rico.

The empty drugs boat was subsequently sunk by Royal Navy gunfire to prevent its use in future smuggling operations.

A huge haul of well over 600kgs of cocaine will never reach the streets of the UK after a major bust by Royal Navy warship HMS Lancaster. Image by LA(PHOT) Jay Allen

Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond MP said: “This extraordinary quantity of drugs has been stopped from reaching the streets by the swift actions of the Royal Navy, working closely with the US Coastguard. This is HMS Lancaster’s second counter narcotics patrol in the Caribbean to tackle the drugs trade and the entire ship’s company should be proud of this remarkable achievement.

“This is another example of the skills and capability that mean our Armed Forces are held in high regard by our partners around the world.”

HMS Lancaster is on patrol with a team from the US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment as part of a multi-national effort to combat drug smuggling in the Caribbean.

HMS Lancaster’s Commanding Officer, Commander Steve Moorhouse, said: “This is a great result not only for Lancaster but also everyone involved in the multi-national effort to stem the flow of drugs in the region.

“My ship’s company can be incredibly proud of what they have achieved, their professionalism and teamwork continue to shine, and our close relationship with our partner nations and law enforcement agencies is proving to be hugely successful.”

This is the ship’s third success in as many weeks and follows on from the seizure of a shipment of marijuana with a street value of up to £700,000 and the stopping of another craft with a significant amount of cocaine and heroine on board.

Able Seaman James Duffy, the coxswain of one of Lancaster’s sea boats, and who is from the city of Lancaster, said: “We have all trained really hard to get where we are and have a fantastic relationship with the US coast guard guys. It is an amazing feeling to get such a great bust and stop millions of pounds worth of cocaine hitting the streets.”

The Portsmouth-based Type 23 frigate is on her second counter narcotics patrol of the Caribbean region and will continue to combat the illicit smuggling of drugs until the end of the year.

These patrols are part of Operation Martillo, a 15-nation collaborative effort to deny transnational criminal organisations air and maritime access to the littoral regions of Central America; and focus on putting a stop to the illegal movement of drugs from South America into the Caribbean and onwards to the UK. Over the past year the US Coast Guard has seized 20,500kg of cocaine and 8,500lbs of marijuana during 22 law enforcement interceptions.

A huge haul of well over 600kgs of cocaine will never reach the streets of the UK after a major bust by Royal Navy warship HMS Lancaster. Image by LA(PHOT) Jay Allen

Counter narcotic operations with the USA and other partner nations is one of a range of tasks HMS Lancaster is conducting across the Caribbean in support of British interests. Others include providing reassurance and security for British Overseas Territories and the provision of humanitarian aid and disaster relief during the core hurricane season.

The Royal Navy contributes to counter narcotics across the globe whether it be cannabis and cocaine in the Caribbean or intercepting insurgent heroin traffic using its Sea King Air Surveillance helicopters in Afghanistan.

Mk8 Lynx from 815NAS 202Flt carry out winching training. During the six-month deployment Lancaster will visit all of the British Overseas Territories in the region, as well as numerous Commonwealth and Caribbean nations. These visits will provide the opportunity to train with other navies as well as demonstrate the Royal Navy’s continued commitment to the region. In between visits, Lancaster will be conducting counter narcotics patrols in conjunction with the US Coast Guard but will remain at high readiness throughout the deployment to provide support and life saving assistance in the wake of a hurricane or other natural disaster. Image by LA(PHOT) Jay Allen

http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/News-and-Events/Latest-News/2013/August/14/130814-Lancaster-drug-haul

USS Rentz seizes $78 million in cocaine

The USS Rentz (FFG-46) is an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate based at Naval Base San Diego.

One of only 13 vessels in her class still in commission (out of 71 built!), the Retnz is scheduled to decommission in 2014.

Frigate Rentz seizes $78M in cocaine

The Rentz is one of only five frigates that are still stationed in San Diego. navy.mil

A San Diego-based warship has seized cocaine worth about $78 million — just one week into its latest drug-busting operation.

The frigate Rentz deployed from Naval Base San Diego on July 25 for the seven-month campaign called Operation Martillo (Spanish for “hammer”).

The frigate’s crew wasted no time in starting their latest mission in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean.

Less than a week on station in the 4th Fleet area of responsibility, servicemen seized 2,123 pounds of cocaine from a fishing vessel north of the Galapagos Islands.

“We are very fortunate to have the Rentz and embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment on patrol conducting counter transnational organized crime operations,” said Rear Adm. Sinclair M. Harris, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/4th Fleet.

“This major seizure in the first week the ship is on station is a clear indicator that illicit activities are taking place and must be addressed to counter their destabilizing affects in the region and in our nation.”

Operation Martillo targets illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus, and is an international, interagency operation led by Joint Interagency Task Force-South, a component of U.S. Southern Command.

During last week’s operation, the Rentz worked closely with a Navy P-3 Orion long-range patrol aircraft to detect and intercept the fishing vessel suspected of smuggling narcotics in international waters.

The U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment team aboard the frigate discovered and confiscated the cache of cocaine shortly after boarding the vessel.

Since Operation Martillo started in January 2012, 318,133 pounds of cocaine and 25,052 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $40 billion have been confiscated.

As well as targeting drug runners in the waterways, the Rentz will also take part in the annual multinational UNITAS maritime exercise next month.

This exercise will be conducted in the Southern Caribbean Sea off the coast of Colombia with naval forces from Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom and Canada.

The Rentz is an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate.

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/aug/16/rentz-cocaine-interdiction/