Royal UK Navy warship HMS Northumberland has carried out a number of boardings of suspect vessels in the Middle East as part of her maritime security patrols in the region.
Working under the command of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) on counter-narcotic operations with Combined Task Force 150, teams of Royal Marine and Royal Navy personnel have boarded several vessels.
In the latest incident HMS Northumberland was directed to intercept and board a vessel that was suspected of drug smuggling. At first light the teams made their way to intercept the dhow under the watchful eye of the ship’s Lynx helicopter, and once on board they thoroughly searched the dhow’s cargo.
The size of the vessel made this a challenging task and as the day progressed it became clear that this would not be completed quickly and the Boarding Team would require support while they completed their task.
Petty Officer Caterer Dickie Davis, said: “The key thing for us is to make sure the Boarding Teams have enough food and water to keep them going. With the heat and the length of time they are on board it is challenging.”
There were no drugs found onboard the dhow this time, but the team did discover that the dhow’s engine was broken so Northumberland sent a small team of engineers to assist.
Commander Tristram Kirkwood, HMS Northumberland’s Commanding Officer acknowledged the value of the effort necessary to complete the task. He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the ship’s company to put their training into practice early on in the deployment while operating under CMF command.
“This sends a clear message of the Royal Navy’s commitment to peace and security in the region.”
CTF-150 conducts maritime security operations in the Indian Ocean to deter terrorism and promote peace and security. It is one of three principle task forces operated by the Combined Maritime Forces, a multinational naval partnership of 30 nations based in Bahrain.