French-British Task Force Busts Indian Ocean Smugglers

Images courtesy Royal Australian Navy

By Royal Navy News 05-16-2017 09:14:46

A French-British task force has dealt a $100 million blow to terrorists after scoring the second major drugs bust in a month. On May 10, Australian frigate HMAS Arunta pounced on a dhow tracked by units assigned to Combined Task Force 150, where sailors recovered 250kg of heroin.

It comes hot on the heels of a double seizure of heroin by the French frigate Surcouf, which brought in 400kg of heroin, worth around $150 million on the streets.

That success came just a few days after British and French sailors and marines took charge of the international task group, whose task is to stop smuggling in the Indian Ocean; drugs are known to be a major source of funding for terrorist groups in the region.


The two dozen staff of French Rear Admiral Olivier Lebas are drawn from the French and British navies – a forerunner of the new combined naval task force the two nations are forming.

Based in Bahrain, they direct the daily movements of half a dozen warships, including UK frigate HMS Monmouth, plus a number of long-range maritime patrol aircraft. Collectively, they scour over two million square miles of ocean looking for suspicious craft.

"Units operating under the command of Combined Task Force 150 continue to remove significant quantities of narcotics from international markets, and so prevent criminal and terrorist organizations benefiting from the trade," said Admiral Lebas. He and his team direct the struggle against international terrorism for four months, having taken over from the Royal Canadian Navy in mid-April.

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