The crew of a Royal Navy warship have seized around £3m ($4.5m) worth of cannabis during a security patrol in the Mediterranean.
The Portsmouth-based frigate HMS Richmond sent up her Lynx helicopter that spotted what was believed to be a drug smuggling boat and immediately moved in to investigate.
With Richmond nearby her Royal Marine boarding team was sent into action. With the aircraft flying overhead, the crew of the smuggling vessel threw their drugs shipment overboard and fled the scene.
Richmond’s team recovered 1,015kg of cannabis that was bound for mainland Europe and potentially the UK. Officials estimate the drugs would have had a value of around £3 million had they reached the streets of the UK.
HMS Richmond’s Commanding Officer, Commander Mark Anderson, said:
"The Mediterranean is a known route for smuggling drugs into Europe and the UK. As soon as the smugglers were detected it took minutes to launch the ship’s boarding team and intercept and recover the drugs."
Richmond is on a nine-month deployment, protecting UK interests’ worldwide.
Since deploying in March she has assisted in the interception of £26.5 million worth of heroin in the Indian Ocean, and disrupted people trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea as part of the European Union led Operation Sophia, helping to save hundreds of lives in the process.
The ship is due to return to UK waters before Christmas.