Royal Navy ship torches smugglers’ boat carrying £24m of cocaine in Caribbean

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A Royal Navy ship has stopped and torched a boat caught smuggling £24m of cocaine in the Caribbean.

HMS Medway pursued the boat after it was spotted near the Dominican Republic, alongside a US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment and accompanying aircraft.

It is thought the boat had come from South America, travelling along a well-known drug smuggling route.

Image:
The seized contraband from the HMS Medway drugs bust. Pic: MOD

Once it was stopped, officers boarded the boat and found several large packages of drugs weighing more than 400kg.

Three crew members from the boat were detained.

The boat was then destroyed – a way of preventing it from being used to transport any more drugs and also a means of practice for Medway’s gunnery team.

Handout photo dated 30/09/22 issued by Ministry of Defence (MOD) of the vessel being sunk by HMS Medway's weapons systems.
Image:
The vessel being sunk by HMS Medway’s weapons systems. Pic: MOD

Commander Chris Hollingworth of HMS Medway said: “Everyone involved demonstrated their professionalism during a challenging pursuit.

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“It might be the first, but we’re going to make sure that it won’t be the last, and I speak on behalf of everyone here in saying this has galvanised our determination to succeed.

Handout photo dated 30/09/22 issued by Ministry of Defence (MOD) of the vessel being sunk by HMS Medway's weapons systems.
Image:
The drug boat is engulfed by flames. Pic: MOD

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“Together with our partners on board Medway and up in the skies above us, we’re able to smash a hole in the supply chain and disrupt the movement of these harmful drugs before they have the chance to harm people at home and abroad,” Cdr Hollingworth said.

“I’m exceptionally proud of the collective effort of my ship’s company and our colleagues from the US Coast Guard for their proactive attitude and total commitment to the task.”

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