US Navy Ship Seizes Drugs Worth $42 Million From Fishing Vessel In The Gulf of Oman

The USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), a US Navy-guided-missile destroyer, was patrolling in the Middle East when it intercepted a fishing vessel striving to smuggle illegal drugs worth $42 million while transiting the Gulf of Oman on 21 April.

US Navy Ship
Image for representation purpose only

The USS Paul Hamilton was known to be supporting the Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, which happens to be one of the four task forces that are part of the Combined Maritime Forces, an advanced multinational naval collaboration that comprises 38 countries.

Before the U.S. Navy and members of the Coast Guard from Paul Hamilton could seize the vessel, five smugglers attempted to discard 50 bags of methamphetamine that weighed 35 pounds each by throwing those overboard. Some of these bags, however, were successfully recovered.

This was outstanding work carried out by the Paul Hamilton team, mentioned Capt. Anthony Webber, the commander of Task Force 55.

He is also responsible for overseeing the U.S. maritime surface missions in the Middle East, further adding such interdictions help get rid of illicit narcotics from high seas and also help deter destabilizing activities in the regional waters.

The crew members identified themselves to be Iranian nationals.

The U.S. Navy, as well as the international naval units, has earlier seized illegal drugs that were worth an estimated street value of $1 billion back in 2021 and last year, with maritime forces strongly supporting the CTF 150 alone in seizing illegal drugs worth an estimated street value of $150 million this year.

CTF 150 is reportedly responsible for carrying out maritime security checks and counter-terrorism missions in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman for disrupting criminal-oriented and terrorist organizations and related illicit acts, including the movements of personnel, weapons, charcoal, and narcotics. Such efforts help establish legitimate, commercial shipping transits in this region free from non-state threats.

Combined Maritime Forces are known to be the greatest multinational naval partnership worldwide, whose partner forces carry out operations in the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Northern Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, Gulf of Oman, and Arabian Gulf to boost regional security as well as stability.

Cmdr. Jake Ferrari, the commanding officer associated with Paul Hamilton, mentioned that he was pleased with the performance of the sailors.

The Bahrain Navy and U.S. Navy have a history of collaborating together, with the two undertaking their annual naval activity, Neon Defender, in January this year. The exercise mainly focused on expeditionary operations, tactical combat, maritime operations, installation defence, and more.

The successful interdiction by the USS Paul Hamilton and other U.S. and international naval units highlights the importance of having a strong naval presence in the Middle East and the vital role of the Combined Maritime Forces in countering massive drug trafficking, as well as several other types of illicit activities in this region.

Reference: Naval Technology, America’s Navy

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