French Warship Makes Four Indian Ocean Drug Seizures in 30 days

The frigate La Fayette going up the Seine river (2nd of July 2003, prior to its recent renovation). Photo credit: Guillaume Rueda

Below is a NAVCENT news release. I was a little surprised it did not include the name of the French ship. I have been unable to find the name of the ship, but it appears probable that this was done by the ships engaged in the French Navy’s annual training cruise, “MISSION JEANNE D’ARC 2023” including amphibious warship FS Dixmude (L9015) and frigate FS La Fayette (F710).

The French are not new at this, and their drug interdiction operations are frequently carried out by La Fayette class frigates. FS La Fayette probably made the interdictions, but FS Dixmude may have helped by flooding the area with search aircraft. Previous “MISSION JEANNE D’ARC” voyages have also resulted in drug interdictions. “MISSION JEANNE D’ARC 2021” resulted in a spate of five drug seizures by three French ships in six days in the same area. “MISSION JEANNE D’ARC 2022” resulted in at least one drug seizure in the Gulf of Guinea.

The crew of the frigate Courbet, supported by LHD Mistral, seized 1.7 tons of cocaine from a fishing vessel in the Gulf of Guinea, May 22, 2022. ©Marine Nationale/Défense

(US Coast Guard PATFORSWA cutters also frequently operate as part of Combined Task Force 150.)

May 24, 2023

French Warship Seizes $108 Million in Drugs during Indian Ocean Seizures

By U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs

A French warship operating in support of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 conducted four illegal drug seizures between April 19 and May 18 worth a total estimated U.S. street value of $108 million from fishing vessels transiting international waters in the Indian Ocean.

The warship seized 2,265 kilograms of heroin and 242 kilograms of methamphetamine from four different vessels while patrolling regional waters. CTF 150 is one of five task forces under Combined Maritime Forces, the largest multinational naval partnership in the world.

In 2023, maritime forces supporting CTF 150 have seized illegal drugs worth a combined estimated U.S. street value of $203 million, adding to record-breaking drug interdictions by U.S. and international naval units in 2021 and 2022 totaling more than $1 billion in value.

“It’s been a pleasure working with the French sailors to achieve our mission’s aims together,” said United Kingdom Royal Navy Lt. Francis Henry, a CTF 150 staff officer responsible for coordinating the task force’s counter-narcotics efforts.

CTF 150 conducts maritime security operations in the Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean to disrupt destabilizing activity, promote international rules-based order and help ensure the free flow of commerce.

The task force is headquartered in Bahrain with Combined Maritime Forces, which is led by the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. 5th Fleet.

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