RFA Argus has returned to the UK after helping to seize almost £400m of drugs during operations in the Caribbean.
The ship departed eight months ago to support the region during hurricane season and the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, alongside patrol ship HMS Medway, support ship RFA Argus also carried out counter-narcotics operations, seizing 5,373kg of cocaine and 28kg of amphetamines worth more than £400m.
The haul came in eight separate drugs busts during the past three months and RFA Argus’ Commanding Officer, Captain Kevin Rimell, said the deployment delivered “unprecedented success in counter-narcotics operations”.
“This has been made possible by a team of highly professional and experienced personnel embarked in Argus,” he said.
Argus now returns to her home port in Falmouth, Cornwall, for a refit, but not before she completed one last drugs bust in which the smugglers were detained and 375kg of cocaine – with a street value of £30m – was seized, taking the ship's personal tally to more than £377.8m of drugs seized.
First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, said he was “extremely proud” of what RFA Argus had achieved.
“Protecting our overseas territories is a key part of the Royal Navy’s role in defending the UK’s interests worldwide,” he said.
“From countering drug smugglers to delivering humanitarian aid, Argus has proven just how versatile the Royal Navy is, and how valuable our continued forward presence remains.”
RFA Argus has most recently been involved in disaster relief operations in Honduras following the devastation of hurricanes Eta and Iota.
Twenty-four tonnes of food, fresh water and shelters in separate bags were flown into aid stations from the ship by the Commando Merlin helicopters of 845 Naval Air Squadron.
The ship’s aircraft also flew intelligence-gathering sorties over ravaged areas to inform decisions made by US Southern Command, which is coordinating relief operations in Honduras, and the ship’s flight deck was also used by US Army helicopters to fly missions into Honduras.
Cover image: RFA Argus at sea in Caribbean drug bust operation (Picture: Royal Navy).