Royal Canadian Navy ships deployed to the international operation Caribbe, HMCS Summerside and Saskatoon, assisted in the seizure of almost 700 kg of cocaine while on patrol in the Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean.
The Canadian Navy said the interception involving HMCS Summerside took place on March 7, 2016, in international waters off the coast of Nicaragua when the ship located and approached a 12-metre long sailing vessel suspected of smuggling.
Members of a United States Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) embarked on HMCS Summerside questioned the master and subsequently boarded the vessel. During the search, the team discovered and seized 16 bales weighing 324 kg that later tested positive for cocaine.
In another event from March 19, the crew of HMCS Saskatoon, its embarked USCG LEDET, and a U.S. Maritime Patrol Aircraft were conducting a routine patrol monitoring targets of interest in international waters off the coast of Central America.
One of the vessels being monitored, a “panga” style fishing boat, jettisoned its cargo and fled at high speed. Once on scene, crew members of HMCS Saskatoon and the LEDET found and retrieved 10 bales of cocaine from the water, with a combined weight of approximately 360 kg.
Lieutenant Commander Paul Smith, Commanding Officer of HMCS Summerside, said: “This success belongs to the ship’s company as well as the members of the United States Coast Guard we embarked for this operation. After patrolling these waters together for more than a month and 5000 nautical miles, it’s satisfying to know we’ve contributed to helping keep these drugs off our streets.”
Operation CARIBBE is currently supported by three Royal Canadian Navy ships: HMC Ships Summerside, Edmonton and Saskatoon. All three ships are Kingston-class coastal defence vessels whose main missions consist of counter narcotics, coastal surveillance, and route surveys.