Navy blasts £33m cocaine speedboat

Author: By Ben Mitchell, Press Association

In a night-time operation, HMS Iron Duke, working with the US Coastguard,
boarded the drug traffickers’ vessel and seized the cocaine weighing
three-quarters of a tonne.

The seizure was made while the Portsmouth-based Type 23 frigate was carrying
out patrols in the Caribbean as part of a multi-national task force to
counter drug smuggling in the region.

Iron Duke first spotted the speedboat, known as a “go-fast” which is a vessel
specially built by the traffickers, and scrambled its Lynx helicopter to
investigate.

The frigate then launched its seaboats after the helicopter crew observed
cocaine bales being thrown overboard from the speedboat.

Along with US Coastguard personnel, the Iron Duke crew members carried out an
armed boarding of the vessel and detained the drug traffickers.

As well as seizing the drugs, the speedboat was destroyed as it presented a
hazard to local shipping.

Iron Duke’s executive officer, Lieutenant Commander Alasdair Peppe said: “This
is a good start to HMS Iron Duke’s North Atlantic deployment.

“After only a week on patrol the ship has made a significant seizure of
cocaine.

“I am very proud of the whole of Iron Duke’s ship’s company, all of whom have
played a part in this success.”

The frigate made a similar drugs bust last year whilst on operations in the
region, seizing drugs with an estimated UK street value of £45 million.

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