HMS Manchester assists RMPF in drugs seizure

HMS Manchester stands guard as the suspected “Go Fast drug running vessel is towed back into port by the Royal Montserrat Police launch

BRADES, Montserrat (June 27, 2010) – Five nationals of St. Vincent & the Grenadines are now in police custody after being arrested during a major drugs seizure by the Royal Montserrat Police Force and the HMS Manchester on Friday morning.

The HMS Manchester had recently arrived to pay a three-day courtesy call on Montserrat when the seizure took place.

According to a statement from the Manchester, the Lynx helicopter was conducting aerial reconnaissance around the island when a power boat was observed “operating in a manner that raised suspicion of illicit activity. HMS Manchester directed the RMPF launch MV Shamrock to intercept the vessel and then spotted 12 by 25Kg bales which had been landed onto a beach.”

The helicopter was used to transfer the bales from the beach to an area where the transfer could be made to the local police. According to the release, the bales containing Marijuana have an estimated street value of 1.5 million pounds in the United Kingdom or more than 6.5 million Eastern Caribbean dollars.

Lt. Luke Edwards (HMS Manchester’s Flight Pilot) lands the Lynx Helicopter on Montserrat with 350Kg of suspected narcotics in the back

HMS Manchester Commanding Officer, Commander Rex Cox said “I am delighted that cooperation between the Royal Montserrat Police and HMS Manchester has resulted in the seizure of a significant quantity of narcotics.”

The ship’s main mission in the Caribbean region is to provide “assurance to the Overseas Territories, Disaster Relief during the hurricane season and Counter Narcotics operations.

The RMPF is continuing investigations into the seizure. This is the second major seizure of drugs in as many months. In May, the force made the largest drug interdiction to date. However, Friday’s event is significantly larger.

The 350Kg of suspected narcotics are loaded into the back of a Royal Montserrat Police Force van

The HMS Manchester is a Type 42 Batch 3 Air Defence Destroyer with a length of 14.1 meters and a displacement of 5200 tonnes. Recently returned from an operations deployment in the South Atlantic, she will be deployed in the Caribbean until December 2010. Her primary role is air defence and as such she is fitted with the Sea Dart missile system. Other assets include her Lynx MK 3 helicopter, 4.2 inch gun, Phalanz close-in weapon system and 20mm guns. The ship was launched in 1980 and has a crew of 250.

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