A Canadian warship patrolling the Arabian Sea this weekend boarded a ship full of heroin and made a significant drug bust right there on the high seas. The HMCS Toronto intercepted the path of a suspected smuggling ship this Saturday and while aboard found a reported 154 bags of heroin that weighed more than 397 pounds. HMCS Toronto’s skipper, Commander Matthew Bowen, said “I’m extremely proud of the work Toronto’s team, and all those on whom we rely for support, have done to achieve this success. A positive outcome like this, seizing and disposing of illegal narcotics whose sale would have funded extremist groups, is a big win for Canada’s counter-terrorism efforts.”
The Toronto has in fact made several drug busts on the high seas of late, including 1100 pounds of heroin in March and 13 000 pounds of hashish in May. The mission of the ship’s crew is to patrol for vessels that are transporting drugs across the sea in hopes of selling them abroad. The Canadian government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, believes that such drug busts take funds away from terrorist organizations overseas and subsequently make Canada and the rest of the world a safer place to live. The HMCS Toronto is taking part in an international anti-terrorism effort, known as the Combined Maritime Task Force, which focuses on foundering the economic resources of would-be terrorist organizations.
The Combined Maritime Task Force is comprised of 29 different nations, including Canada, the United States, Greece, Japan and Italy. The Task Force and its community projects are voluntary, and the mission of the organization is to remove the threat of terrorism, provide a safer maritime environment and to counter piracy on the high seas. So far, this Canadian ship has an impressive drug bust record, with seizures of illegal substances amounting to more than 18000 pounds. The dollar amount of the drugs found on board, as well as the names and nationalities of the people on the ship, have not been released to the public.
After the crew of the HMCS Toronto catalogued the drugs, the heroin was destroyed, although in what manner is unknown. Local police units usually dispose of illegal substances only after enough evidence has been catalogued to press charges, and then they take them to an incinerator. Such an incinerator is likely available on the well-equipped Toronto ship, so that substances such as these can be disposed of on board without the crew needing to return to shore.
The HMCS Toronto is a Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class Frigate ship that operates with 258 crew members aboard, and it is capable of deploying an uninhabited aerial vehicle. This ship is officially a part of Operation Artemis, which is Canada’s addition to the Combined Maritime Task Force. The ship continues to patrol the Arabian Sea this week as an ongoing part of its mission.
Written by Mandy Gardner