During its deployment in the Indian Ocean on April 6, 2019, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Regina seized 2,569 kilograms of hashish, a drug made from the resin of the cannabis plant.

HMCS Regina made this seizure as part of Operation ARTEMIS – the Canadian Armed Forces’ ongoing contribution to Middle Eastern and East African waters – to counter-terrorism and enhance maritime security.

It was off the coast of Oman that HMCS Regina spotted a suspicious fishing vessel, which it eventually stopped and checked. The Naval Tactical Operations Group (NTOG) team, a dedicated Royal Canadian Navy unit that specializes in advanced boarding operations at sea, went aboard and performed the search. It was during the investigation that 119 bags of hashish were found in the ice hold. The bags of the illegal drug were transported to HMCS Regina and subsequently destroyed.

HMCS Regina’s crew poses with over 2000 kilograms of narcotics seized from a dhow during Operation ARTEMIS in the Pacific Ocean on April 7 2019. Photo: Corporal Stuart Evans, BORDEN Imaging Services.

“This seizure is a testament to the months of hard work HMCS Regina has conducted in preparation for our operational deployment,” said Cdr Jacob French, Commanding Officer of HMCS Regina. “I’m very proud of the professionalism of our NTOG team, as well as our entire ship’s company. It was an all-ship effort and we are all proud to contribute to the disruption of the trade of illegal narcotics and in promoting a safer maritime environment in the region.”

HMCS Regina is part of the Canadian-led Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), a naval coalition of over 30 countries that promotes security and stability in the region.

“Had CTF 150 not intervened, the hashish would have been sold locally, or in other markets, with the profits benefitting organized crime networks and terrorist organizations,” said Cmdre Darren Garnier, Royal Canadian Navy, Commander CTF 150. “A job well done to HMCS Regina, in their support of CTF 150’s work to promote stability in this part of the world.”

This seizure is the first for HMCS Regina, which came just a few days after it joined Operation ARTEMIS at the end of March 2019.