We spotted a contact at range using our radar and, on closing, the flight observer was able to use the electro-optical device on the aircraft to provide high-quality images of the suspect dhow.

Pilot Lieutenant Scott Sunderland - 815 Naval Air Squadron

The bust began with an early-morning sortie for Dragon’s Wildcat helicopter, looking out for suspicious vessels likely to be involved in the narcotics trade.

Pilot Lieutenant Scott Sunderland of 815 Naval Air Squadron said: “We spotted a contact at range using our radar and, on closing, the flight observer was able to use the electro-optical device on the aircraft to provide high-quality images of the suspect dhow.”

Dragon immediately launched her sea boats and, following a search of the dhow by the Royal Navy and 42 Commando Royal Marines boarding team, the drugs were found hidden in the vessel.

Boarding officer Lt Laurens Williams said: “While the weather conditions were much more conducive to the search activity, the team worked hard over long hours to ensure that any concealed narcotics were found.

“The inventiveness of the drug runners necessitates a detailed search to ensure that we do not miss any potential hiding places.

"My team have gained significant experience and skills over the last four seizures and the success today is a reward for the hours of training that have been invested by all in ensuring that these operations are conducted successfully.”

Lt Sunderland added: “This seizure has once again highlighted the fantastic capability of the Wildcat aircraft and its ability to find, fix and identify suspected dhows at vast ranges, thus extending the search footprint of HMS Dragon as it continues on its maritime security mission with Combined Task Force 150.”

HMS Dragon will continue supporting the efforts of CTF-150 over her operational deployment to the region seeking to significantly disrupt the flow of illicit narcotics.