Royal Navy warship HMS Dragon has seized three tonnes of hashish in one of the most significant drugs busts in the Gulf this year, dealing a major blow to the funding of terrorism…

The Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer was on patrol in the Middle East when they came across a suspicious dhow – a type of vessel common to the Middle East – in a notorious drug smuggling route known as the ‘Hash Highway’.

Swooping into action, sailors and Royal Marines from HMS Dragon launched their fast boats to intercept and board the vessel, before conducting a painstaking search of its compartments. They ultimately found 148 bags of hashish, weighing around 3,048kg.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Alongside keeping key shipping channels safe, countering piracy and providing disaster relief, the Royal Navy makes a significant contribution to global security by tackling the illicit drugs trade. The success of HMS Dragon’s seizure is the latest blow struck to this nefarious industry.”

The ‘Hash Highway’ runs from Afghanistan, a major drugs producer, by land through Iran or Pakistan, and then across the sea to countries in east Africa and the Middle East. Profits from drug smuggling are a known source funding for terrorist organisations and criminal networks.

Lieutenant Laurie Williams is HMS Dragon’s deputy marine engineer officer, and boarding officer. He said: “This success validates the significant hard work of all on board to ensure we were in the right place, with the right training and equipment and intelligence to achieve this result; one of the largest recent finds within this region”.