Royal Marines and sailors onboard a Royal Navy ship have made a drugs bust worth £3.3 million in the Middle East.
The crew of HMS Defender spent a day searching a dhow boat in the northern Arabian Sea, finding 11 bags of crystal meth, weighing 131 kilograms, the Royal Navy said in a statement.
HMS Defender's Wildcat helicopter spotted the suspicious vessel at dawn when it was not flying any flag or showing any evidence that it was carrying fish.
It prompted the destroyer to investigate with Royal Marines boarding and securing the ship before sailors conducted a search as the Wildcat hovered overhead to "provide protection".
HMS Defender's Commanding Officer, Commander Richard Hewitt, said he was "really proud" and it was a "real boost" for his crew who face Christmas away from home.
Lieutenant Ben Clink, the officer in charge of the ship's Royal Marines detachment, said: "After all the training and preparation, it was fantastic to have the opportunity to demonstrate our capability with a successful boarding."
The ship has been deployed to the Middle East since August, spending most of her time protecting merchant shipping travelling through the Strait of Hormuz.
She recently joined an international task force dedicated to stopping criminals smuggling arms, people or drugs in the Indian Ocean.
Earlier this year, HMS Defender's sister ship, HMS Dragon, made a record-breaking eight drug busts during her deployment in the Gulf.
Cover Image: HMS Defender and its detachment of Royal Marines travelling in a sea boat (Picture: Royal Navy).