May 30, 2019 – Canada has concluded Operation Artemis, the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) contribution to counter-terrorism and maritime security operations in Middle Eastern and East African waters.
The successful deployment saw HMCS Regina, along with its embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter and Naval Tactical Operations Group enhanced boarding team seize and destroy 9,155 kg of illegal narcotics, worth just over $4.7 million (USD) regional wholesale value.
Additional CAF assets that participated in Operation Artemis this year included Naval Replenishment Unit (NRU) Asterix, and a CP-140 Aurora aircraft. The units were deployed as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 – a task force under Combined Maritime Forces, a naval coalition of 33 nations that promotes security and stability in Middle Eastern and East African waters.
As part of CTF 150, the assets worked in concert with several other coalition ships to patrol the waters of the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman, while the CP-140 Aurora conducted maritime surveillance.
These efforts are in support of CTF 150’s mandate to deter and deny terrorist organizations any benefits from employing the high seas for smuggling illicit cargo including narcotics, UN-embargoed weapons, and Somalian charcoal. Profits from illicit trafficking in the region are a known source of funding for terrorist and criminal networks, which represents a common threat to the security and prosperity of the region, further de-stabilizing regional countries.
“I’m extremely proud of the hard work and professionalism demonstrated by all Canadian Armed Forces units and members working together in the region during Operation Artemis,” said Commander Jacob French, the commanding officer of HMCS Regina and commander of the Operation Artemis Task Force. “As a team, we contributed to maritime security in the region by disrupting the use of the high seas as a passageway for illegal activities, while supporting the free-flow of international trade and commerce in some of the world’s busiest waterways. That’s $4.7 million dollars that will not be making it into the hands of those wanting to do harm around the world.”
HMCS Regina’s seizures of illegally smuggled narcotics while under CTF 150 command include:
- April 7, 2019: 2,569 kg of hashish
- April 15, 2019: 3,019.2 kg of hashish
- April 18, 2019: 1502.8 kg of hashish and 10.47 kg of heroin
- May 3, 2019; 2,054 kg of hashish
HMCS Regina, with its embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter, and NRU Asterix will resume Operation Projection, working with partner navies and conducting key leader engagements to enhance military cooperation and partnerships in support of Canada’s diplomatic efforts in the Asia-Pacific region. The ships will return to their homeport of Esquimalt, British Columbia in August 2019.