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Canadian warship honored for record-breaking high seas drug seizures

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Drug lords and international terrorists must have great hatred for Admiral Amherstberg, who recently broke several maritime records with the vast quantities of illegal drugs seized on the high seas by Canadian warships and crews. .

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But at home, HMCS Calgary and its commanding officer, Captain Mark O’Donoghue, are hailed and honored for their decisive blow against international traffickers of illegal drugs. It also serves as a major source of income for terrorist groups and organized crime in the world.

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When deployed to the Gulf of Oman as part of Operation Artemis, a Royal Canadian Navy vessel and her crew seized 33,573 kg of illegal narcotics with a market value of over $130 million. One of her highlights was that on April 23, 2021 she tracked down and boarded a traditional wooden sailing dhow carrying 1,286 kg of heroin. This surpassed the previous record set by an Australian warship off the coast of Kenya.

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“One of the things terrorist organizations do is use dhows to transport drugs and weapons to finance their operations,” O’Donoghue told The Star.

Of particular note is the record enforcement effort during a seven-month deployment at sea, when the COVID-19 pandemic confined most of the 253-man crew to the ship’s relatively tight compartments. was done.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland and raised in Amherstburg, O’Donoghue was 25 years old, single, and worked for a pharmaceutical company in Windsor. Twenty-three years later, he’s still in uniform, married with a child, and serving as second-in-command for Pacific Airlines’ Canadian Fleet based in Eskimalt, adjacent to Victoria, BC.

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Canadian Fleet Pacific Second Commander Capt. Mark O'Donoghue pictured Wednesday November 9, 2022 at HMCS Hunter.
Canadian Fleet Pacific Second Commander Capt. Mark O’Donoghue pictured Wednesday November 9, 2022 at HMCS Hunter. Photo by Dax Melmer /windsor star

Serving as a naval officer is “a great job. I would recommend it to anyone,” O’Donoghue said. His ship received a special Canadian Armed Forces Commendation in September as part of the 2021 Multinational Maritime Union mission. Drugs, weapons and humans are being smuggled across the ocean.

“With skill and tenacity, Calgary has dealt a heavy blow to the financial resources that support terrorist organizations,” said RCN Maj. Gen. Chris Robinson during the presentation of the rare commendation.

Many of the methods by which the 33-nation coalition naval forces target a myriad of small fishing, cargo and other seagoing vessels are classified, but require intelligence gathering and surveillance from above. is.

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Under international maritime law, HMCS Calgary conducted 21 boarding operations, resulting in the seizure of 17 drug shipments in the waters between the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. Less than 24 hours after her heavy heroin shipment, a Halifax-class frigate intercepted another ship, this time she seized 360 kg of methamphetamine.

Warships out there, aircraft overhead, armed boarding teams, people working together

Warships typically aim at suspected targets, keep their distance, and launch boarding parties to investigate.

“There are warships out there, aircraft overhead, armed boarding teams, people working together,” O’Donoghue explained of all the welcomes the officers received. His one of HMCS Calgary’s weapons is a Bofors Mark 2 gun capable of firing 2.4 kg shells at a rate of 220 rounds per minute at her 17 km range.

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Canada may have three coasts to protect its homeland, but O’Donoghue said the Royal Canadian Navy is deployed in remote locations such as the Gulf of Oman in the Middle East.

O’Donoghue said all the boats he was on were operated by fishermen from the surrounding area. The illegal drugs were seized and the boat and its crew were free to move. The contraband was handled with care and, after being unpacked, the valuable contents were dumped into the sea.

Deployed during the peak of COVID-19, it meant a stretch of six months at sea, without any port or port visits. Along the way, the crew “rented” the beach when they stopped in Guam. On the return voyage, they stopped in New Zealand after their health was proven, which was not difficult given that the crew had undergone quarantine-equivalent isolation the previous month.

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Canadian Fleet Pacific Second Commander Capt. Mark O'Donoghue pictured Wednesday November 9, 2022 at HMCS Hunter.
Canadian Fleet Pacific Second Commander Capt. Mark O’Donoghue pictured Wednesday November 9, 2022 at HMCS Hunter. Photo by Dax Melmer /windsor star

To boost morale in the limited living quarters, the captain would occasionally open up his cabin “like an internet cafe, with Wi-Fi and people reading and tweeting.” . O’Donoghue said he also allowed the cabin to be reserved for crew social events such as movie nights, although it’s usually a private, sacred space for a warship commander. Wine and cheese jazz night. Or Dungeons & Dragons.

O’Donoghue is realistically outspoken about how his record-breaking seizures of Canadian ships and crews have impacted the hugely profitable global trafficking of illegal drugs.

O’Donoghue, whose grandfather served in World War II, is visiting schools and participating in local social events this week as part of Remembrance Day. He is due to attend an anniversary service in Amherstburg on Friday.

The second-in-command has also met with reservists at HMCS Hunter in Windsor.aval reserve division in the Canadian Army. The Royal Canadian Navy has approximately 8,400 regular military personnel, 4,100 reservists, and 3,800 civilian personnel.

dschmidt@postmedia.com

twitter.com/schmidtcity

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Canadian warship honored for record-breaking high seas drug seizures

Source link Canadian warship honored for record-breaking high seas drug seizures

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