HMCS Calgary makes record-breaking heroin bust overseas

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HMCS Calgary makes record-breaking heroin bust overseas
HMCS Calgary has made a record-breaking heroin bust while on Operation Artemis in the Arabian Sea. Jackie Wilson has the details. – May 22, 2021

HMCS Calgary, a Royal Canadian Navy ship, has made a historic drug bust in the Arabian Sea.

It’s part of Operation Artemis, a counter-smuggling operation.

The 1,286-kilogram (2,835-pound) seizure happened on April 23 and was the largest heroin bust in Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) history.

The combined value of the seized drugs is estimated to be more than $23 million.

The previous record was set by Australia in 2014, according to HMCS Calgary commanding officer Mark O’Donohue.

“HMCS Calgary has completed 14 seizures. We’ve confiscated more than 24,000 kg of hash, almost 3,000 kg of heroin, and 1,700 kg of methamphetamine,” O’Donohue said.

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That success has also broken another CMF record: the most seizures by one ship.

“There are 34 countries that make up CMF. Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, who were under command of this area, is Canadian-led. Our single ship beat an entire CMF record, which is great for morale and great for Canadians everywhere,” O’Donohue said.

The ship, crewed by 249 Canadians, left British Columbia at the end of February for Operation Artemis in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman.

“There are several terrorist organizations operating in this region. They use the high-seas to smuggle contraband, illicit narcotics and weapons to local and global markets to fund their organizations. When ships like HMCS Calgary seize this, we’re disrupting funding, providing regional stability and contributing to a greater cause,” O’Donohue said.

The work is dangerous but vital, said University of Calgary political scientist Rob Huebert.

“Canada’s navy plays a huge role in international security and the rule of law that has been so advantageous to Canada,” Huebert said.

Huebert’s area of study has focused on the Canadian navy and sea powers.

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“Canada has been a critical player throughout its modern history, ensuring freedom of navigation and the rule-based system is maintained. Our navy has been central in that,” he added.

HMCS Calgary will leave Operation Artemis in mid-June.

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