HMS Montrose Seizes $8M Worth of Hash in Gulf of Oman

Image courtesy Royal Navy

Published Feb 21, 2020 10:56 PM by The Maritime Executive

In a recent two-day operation, the Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose recovered bales of hash from the waters of the Gulf of Oman – then found a secret narcotics cache hidden aboard a dhow. The resulting haul would have been worth nearly $8 million on the street.

It was the second haul of hashish seized by the Royal Navy in three weeks: HMS Defender captured two and a half tonnes of the drug. It is the second recent success for HMS Montrose, which intercepted a cargo of crystal meth and heroin in October worth around $1.3 million.

The search began when the frigate’s Wildcat helicopter came across a dhow moving through waters known to be used by traffickers. By sunrise the next day, the warship had arrived close to the dhow’s location.

“As the sun rose over the Arabian Sea, several packages could be seen floating in the water near the dhow,” said Lieutenant Commander Charli Martin, Montrose’s Weapon Engineer Officer. “The packages were recovered and determined to be hashish. Royal Marine Commandos then boarded the dhow, securing it for search by a Royal Navy boarding team.”

The master of the dhow admitted that the packages in the water came from his vessel, and after a thorough search of the dhow, the team found another cache of hashish. Combined with the drugs recovered from the sea, the crew's total seizure of hashish was 1,045kg – worth an estimated regional wholesale value of US $538,860, or $8 million if distributed in Britain. 

“I am very proud of the crew of HMS Montrose – last week we were 800 miles away providing maritime security for merchant shipping in the Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, and this week disrupting the flow of illegal narcotics,” said Commander Charles Collins, Montrose’s Commanding Officer.