NZ pilots help in Somali drug swoop

RNZAF Orion crew have helped an anti-piracy task force nab nearly six tonnes of cannabis off the Somalia coast.

Royal New Zealand Air Force crew have shown their nose for finding drugs after helping anti-piracy patrols track down nearly six tonnes of cannabis being trafficked off the Somalia coast.

Crew aboard an RNZAF Orion trailed a dhow sailing from the Arabian Sea to the Horn of Africa for four days in poor weather before the Australian frigate HMAS Toowoomba stopped and boarded it.

The Australians discovered 5588kg of hashish, estimated to be worth $A280 million ($NZ313.22m), the Defence Force said on Monday.

“This was a great result for the combined New Zealand and Australian force and our Pakistan Navy colleagues at CTF-150 who led the operation,” said Air Commodore Kevin McEvoy.

“We often work with other nations on operations and it is good for our people to be involved in a large-scale operation that can make a real difference.”

The 27-nation Combined Task Force operating off the Somalian coast is trying to hamper the efforts of pirates and terrorists and their revenue sources. It is currently being led by the Pakistani navy.

New Zealand has contributed frigates to the mission in the past.

RNZAF crew will be replaced in the middle of the month.


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