U.S. Navy Intercepts Five Tons of Hashish in Gulf of Aden

A boarding party in a RIB passes alongside the USS Chung-Hoon during an approach and assist operation in the Gulf of Aden, Dec. 24 (USN)

By The Maritime Executive 12-30-2018 06:05:14

On Thursday, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Chung-Hoon seized more than five tons of hashish from a stateless vessel in the international waters of the Gulf of Aden.

If a vessel is believed to be stateless, a flag verification boarding is generally allowed under international law. Chung-Hoon’s visit, board, search and seizure team boarded the vessel and discovered over 11,000 pounds of hashish aboard. The vessel and its crew were allowed to depart once the narcotics were seized.

“We have been conducting maritime security operations along suspected maritime smuggling routes in order to interdict illicit shipments into Yemen and Somalia,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Brent Jackson, commanding officer of the Chung-Hoon. “It's critical in an effort to curb the ongoing shipments of illicit weapons and narcotics. I am grateful that Chung-Hoon was able to play a small part in an ongoing effort to deter and limit these illicit shipments of contraband."

USS Chung-Hoon is one of the many ships conducting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. These maritime security patrols help the service to detect smuggling and to foster improved mariner-to-mariner relations. These relationships help the Navy to disrupt the transport of illicit cargoes, which often fund terrorism and other illegal activities.

Sailors on the Chung-Hoon recently completed maritime security training with instructors from the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Army, just in time for their latest boarding operation. “Training’s going excellent,” said U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Enforcement Specialist 1st Class Michael Walden, after a round of drills in mid-December. “They’re very willing to learn. They’re actually grasping a lot.”

The USS Chung-Hoon is named for Rear Adm. Chung-Hoon, a decorated commander in WWII and the Korean War. He was also the first admiral of Chinese-Hawaiian ancestry in the U.S. Navy.