RIYADH: CTF 150, a combined task force currently led by the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, seized 3,330 kilograms of hashish and heroin during an intercept and search operation targeting a boat in the Gulf of Oman.

The task force, which was established in 2002, is one of four operating as part of the Combined Maritime Forces under the overall command of the US Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, the world’s largest international maritime partnership.

The task force’s mission is to carry out maritime security operations in areas including the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Gulf of Aden, to combat terrorism and related activities such as the smuggling of people, drugs, weapons and coal.

The Royal Saudi Naval Forces took command of CTF 150 for the first time in July 2018, taking over from the British Royal Navy and leading a number of operations. It took command for a second time in August 2020, this time taking over from French naval forces, and led six operations. The first, in October 2020, resulted in the seizure of more than 450 kg of methamphetamine. The following month, 456 kg of methamphetamine and 364 kg of heroin were confiscated.

Two further operations took place in December 2020. In the first, 910 kg of hashish were seized in international waters in the Arabian Sea, and in the second, 182 kg of methamphetamine and 272 kg of heroin were found.