Tropical Storm Ana strikes southern Africa, leaving death and destruction in its wake
On Sunday 24 January, the Nivôse surveillance frigate of the French Armed Forces in the Southern Zone of the Indian Ocean (FAZSOI) seized 444 kilograms of methamphetamines and heroin, valued at more than €40 million, off the coast of Mozambique.
The frigate was engaged in “a mission of sovereignty […] to the French Southern and Antarctic Lands via a route renewed due to sanitary constraints, passing in particular through the Mozambique Channel”, a FAZSOI communiqué details.
Early on Sunday afternoon, the watch aboard the Nivôse detected the presence of a dhow apparently without nationality and of suspicious character. “Alerted, the operational controller of the frigate then envisaged an intervention in close coordination with the maritime zone commander, who authorised the boarding of a Nivôse team to conduct a flag investigation. Thanks to the intimidating action of a Panther helicopter, the dhow complied with orders to stop, and the boarding team embarked and secured it,” the communique recounts.
In the absence of convincing documents, the dhow was declared ‘without flag’.
Investigations, which continued after dark, led after four hours of search to the discovery of a cache of bales which tested positive for methamphetamines and heroin.
“Faced with this discovery, the Prefect of Reunion, government delegate for State action at sea in the southern maritime zone of the Indian Ocean (ZMSOI), decided, in conjunction with the public prosecutor of Saint-Denis, to implement a procedure of dissociation and seizure of the narcotics. The weighing, carried out on board the frigate at the end of the night, tallied a total 417 kilograms of methamphetamines and 27 of heroin,” adds FAZSOI.
After the capture, the Nivôse resumed its patrol in the Mozambique Channel.