The British Navy support ship RFA Wave Knight detected the cocaine-carrying speedboat

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Naval Support Ship RFA Wave Knight has seized

cocaine with an estimated wholesale value of £8.5million.

It marks the British Navy ship’s second

successful anti-drugs operation within three weeks.

While on patrol in the Caribbean Sea on 11 February the crew

of Wave Knight detected a suspect speedboat operating off the coast of Jamaica.

A US Coast Guard helicopter was quickly despatched from Wave Knight in pursuit of the vessel.

The aircraft arrived on scene and established that the two men

on-board were jettisoning packages into the sea: warning shots were

fired, forcing the speedboat to a standstill.

A US Coast Guard boarding team from RFA Wave Knight attended in the ship’s fast rescue craft.

During the boarding, the team recovered several packages totalling 170 kilograms that later tested positive for cocaine.

The two crew were detained on board Wave Knight prior to transfer to mainland USA.

Mark Francois, Minister of State for the Armed Forces said: ‘I am

delighted that the men and women of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary have once

again provided vital assistance to the international counter narcotics

mission in the Caribbean

‘I’d like to thank them for their hard work throughout their

deployment which has already led to millions of pounds worth of illegal

drugs being taken off our streets.’

Wave Knight is currently deployed in support of Operation Martillo, a 15-nation

collaborative effort to deny transnational criminal organisations air

and maritime access to the coastal regions of Central America and to

disrupt the illegal movement of drugs from South America into the

Caribbean and onwards to the UK.

‘A multi-national effort’

The latest seizure also saw involved the first embarkation

of an armed US Coast Guard Dolphin helicopter to a non-US military

platform.

Captain Duncan Lamb, Commanding Officer of RFA Wave Knight said: ‘RFA

Wave Knight
‘s latest cocaine seizure rounds off a very successful

patrol and underlines the effectiveness of multi-national counter

narcotics operations in the Caribbean.

‘The ship, US Coast Guard law enforcement detachment and an armed US

Coast Guard helicopter working together present a formidable obstacle to

the smugglers.’

The success follows closely on from Wave Knight‘s seizure of an even

larger 1,250kg haul of cocaine last month south of the Dominican

Republic.

Wave Knight has been deployed to the Caribbean since January 2013 as

part of the UK’s commitment to the region in support of the overseas territories, hurricane and disaster relief and counter narcotic

operations.

Until late last year she operated alongside HMS Lancaster with both ships enjoying success against the drugs trade.

All images are courtesy RFA WAVE KNIGHT/ MoD/ CROWN COPYRIGHT