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British Royal Navy warship ends 6-months stay in ME

HMS Dragon seized 15 tons of illegal drugs

British Ambassador Michael Davenport (left) and Commander Michael Carter Quinn.

KUWAIT: HMS Dragon, a British Royal Navy warship stationed in the Middle East for the last six months, is on a goodwill visit to Kuwait. HMS Dragon is currently deployed in the region to support counter narcotics operations. In fact throughout her six months’ stay, the royal navy has seized more than 15 tons of illegal drugs according to her captain Commander Michael Carter Quinn.

“We are in the region since September providing support to our allies. We are currently in Kuwait to celebrate our maritime friendship – this is the last leg of our visit before returning to the UK. We were part of combined forces providing maritime security in the region with the navies of countries in the Middle East, now being headed by the Kuwaiti navy,” said Quinn.

“In the last six months, we conducted six operations where we seized various types of drugs (mostly hashish and heroin) smuggled from the coast of Iran down to Yemen and Africa. The street value of the drugs could reach up to £250 million,” he said. According to Quinn, the drug money, if not seized, can ultimately end up in the hands of terrorist and other criminal networks, which could affect the economy of the region and other parts of the world including the UK.

From Kuwait, HMS Dragon will be heading back home and will be replaced by another frigate – HMS Monroe. “HMS Monroe will be deployed permanently in the region over the next three years. HMS Monroe is a bit smaller but with the same capabilities,” Quinn added.

British Ambassador to Kuwait Michael Davenport thanked HMS Dragon’s captain and his team for successful completing its counter narcotics operations in the region. “This is yet another proof of how our bilateral relations are growing year after year and from strength to strength across all areas of cooperation. We are pleased to complete the mission with the successful seizures of narcotics. This is part of our commitment to the safety and security of the Middle Eastern region. We are grateful to Kuwait as the host for the two-day visit of MHS Dragon,” he said.

HMS Dragon is the fourth ship of the Type 45 or Daring-class air-defense destroyers built for the Royal Navy. She was launched in Nov 2008 and commissioned on April 20, 2012. Dragon’s construction began at the then BAE Systems Naval Ships (later BAE Systems Surface Fleet Solutions) yard at Scotstoun on the River Clyde in Dec 2005, and by Dec 2007 the bow section was in place on the Govan slipway for mating with the other modules. On April 27, 2012, she made her maiden visit to Liverpool, staying for three days. She was opened to the public on April 28, with visitors able to see the inside of the ship, including the operations room.

By Ben Garcia

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