French frigate seizes over 3.5 tonnes of drugs in Indian Ocean

Gulf of Oman – Frigate Courbet seizes more than 3.5 tonnes of drugs in the Indian Ocean – Press release issued by the Ministry for the Armed Forces

Paris, 16 December 2019

Florence Parly, Minister for the Armed Forces, congratulates the crew of the frigate Courbet on the seizure of more than three tonnes of cannabis in the Gulf of Oman and pays tribute to “impressive efforts by our sailors, who very clearly uphold France’s values in this essential battle against drug trafficking, whose final destination is often Europe”.

In this way, the French navy is contributing in a concrete way to security in that strategic area and drying up sources of finance for unlawful and terrorist activities.

This year, French ships made nine seizures in the area, totalling nearly 15 tonnes of illegal products.

On Friday 13 December, La Fayette-class frigate (FLF) Courbet seized more than 3.5 tonnes of cannabis resin in the Gulf of Oman. In doing so, Courbet made France’s biggest seizure in the region this year. The frigate was operating under the operational control of the Commander of the Indian Ocean maritime zone (ALINDIEN), in direct support of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150. CTF 150 is a coalition bringing together navies from several countries to combat trafficking and unlawful activities linked to terrorism and guarantee the safety of maritime spaces.

On the basis of intelligence, Courbet relocated a suspicious-looking dhow sailing without a flag, keeping it within radar range for over 36 hours until the drugs it had on board were transferred onto an accomplice vessel. Around 1.00 a.m., the dhow suddenly headed south and the frigate set off in pursuit.

Its boarding party searched the vessel, before detecting the drugs in a double-bottomed fuel tank. A total of 172 bundles of cannabis resin, each weighing around 20 kg, were discovered. The drug was seized, taken on board Courbet, weighed and sealed, then destroyed under the responsibility of the Commander and on ALINDIEN’s orders.

Setting sail for Toulon on 7 November, Courbet took over from anti-air frigate (FAA) Jean Bart on 23 November as part of a French presence mission in the Arabian-Persian Gulf whose purpose is twofold: to combat drug trafficking whilst helping protect French interests in the region./.

Published on 19/12/2019

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