U.S. Coast Guard Achieves First Drug Bust of the Year in Gulf of Oman

CMF CTF-150 Partnership Yields $11 Million Narcotics Seizure, Demonstrating Robust Maritime Security Measures

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In a significant development marking the commencement of the new year, the U.S. Coast Guard executed its inaugural drug interdiction operation in the Gulf of Oman, culminating in the apprehension of a diverse assortment of narcotics valued at an estimated $11 million.

At the outset of this month, the international Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) CTF 150 task force identified a dhow traversing the Gulf of Oman, deeming it a vessel of interest. The reconnaissance efforts were spearheaded by the Royal Navy frigate HMS Lancaster, which diligently monitored the dhow’s movements, gathering crucial intelligence. Subsequently, the Lancaster’s crew shared precise coordinates with the crew of the cutter USCGC Emlen Tunnell, prompting the latter to undertake interception maneuvers.

On January 5, the USCGC Emlen Tunnell successfully intercepted the identified dhow and executed a comprehensive search operation. The boarding team, in the course of their inspection, discovered and confiscated a substantial cache of narcotics concealed within the vessel’s compartments. The illicit haul included 37 kilograms of heroin, 187 kilograms of methamphetamine, and five kilograms of cocaine. Following the confiscation, the boarding team permitted the dhow to resume its intended voyage.

This interdiction operation underscored the collaborative framework that has consistently borne fruit in drug interdiction endeavors within the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. Under the leadership transition to French forces in mid-2023, the CMF CTF-150 has successfully seized twelve distinct drug cargoes, solidifying the efficacy of the partnership model.

While CMF’s purview extends to the Red Sea through task force CTF-153, its involvement in safeguarding sea lanes against Houthi rebels has been limited. An independent initiative, orchestrated by the United States and housed under CTF-153, has been dedicated to furnishing air defense coverage for shipping traversing the Red Sea, delineating the multifaceted nature of maritime security operations in the region.

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