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NAVY NEWS, SEPTEMBER 2009 3
and
BURNING fi ercely, this is the
Such media attention, says Commanding detachment (sadly no busts on this occasion),
moment a ‘go fast’ drugs boat met
Officer Cdr Andrew Stacey, is an important Iron Duke arrived at the lush French island of
its end at the hands of HMS Iron
fillip to morale – like the busts themselves. Martinique.
“The ship’s company received recognition There, a meeting with French counter-drugs
Duke. for a job well done – once again reminding experts awaited the frigate’s command team
Just one week into her counter-narcotics the wider public of the relevance of the Royal as they shared knowledge about the narcotics
patrol, the frigate pounced on a speedboat Na vy.” trade in the region.
carrying cocaine with a wholesale value of more The next port of call was the Commonwealth There was the obligatory offi cial reception for
than £33m (the street value’s roughly double island chain of St Vincent and the Grenadines. 100 French military offi cials and Martinique
that) as it raced away from the South American The small nation has proved a fruitful dignitaries, which concluded with a traditional
coast by night. recruiting ground for the RN in recent years – ceremonial sunset.
The Type 23’s Lynx was sent up to investigate and HMS Iron Duke is no exception. And fi nally, there was a chance for some
a fast-moving contact. When it found the Rarely do Vincentian friends and family get fun. The unbeaten rugby team (it had already
speedboat, crew started to toss bales over the the chance to see their loved ones in action, triumphed over a US side in Key West at the
side into the ocean. so when the frigate anchored off the isle start of the deployment) took on the armée de
That was suffi cient proof for Iron Duke to of Canouan, a good number carpe diem-ed terre on Martinique. The French were seven
launch her sea boats with RN and US Coast (made-up verb – Ed). men short of a full squad, so the Iron Ducks
Guard teams aboard who ordered the go-fast The tiny island (4½ square miles – less than kindly loaned them the requisite players.
to stop. half the size of Portsmouth) is home to fewer It didn’t help the French. Iron Duke built up
It did, and although the Coast Guards found than 2,000 inhabitants. One, AB Logs Gregory a 34-7 lead before the soldiers waved the white
no cocaine aboard, Iron Duke’s boats scooped King, serves in the Iron Duke. fl ag and decided enough was enough.
up numerous bales from the briny. Some 30 of his friends and family, plus “Iron Duke is a very sporty ship and we have
The go-fast’s crew were arrested and the fellow Vincentians, jumped into Iron Duke’s a strong and social rugby team,” said rugby
speedboat itself was promptly destroyed by the sea boats and climbed aboard for a tour of team manager POMEM(M) Stu Vickrage.
upper deck guns of Iron Duke because it posed the warship plus a barbecue on the fl ight deck Equally chuffed were Iron Duke’s footballers
a hazard to shipping. organised by the Petty Offi cers’ Mess. who added to a victory on Cayman Brac with a
“This is a good start to our North Atlantic “Guests who’d never previously been on defeat of Martiniquers.
deployment – after only one week on patrol the board a warship were extremely impressed Teams of sailors headed up the volcano
ship has made a signifi cant seizure of cocaine,” with the ship and how we operate,” said LLogs Mount Pelée (which famously erupted in
said Iron Duke’s Executive Offi cer Lt Cdr Imran Soloman, who hails from St Vincent. 1902 to terrible effect although in 2009 it’s
Alasdair Peppe. “They were pleasantly surprised with the mercifully dormant), while others scuba dived
That lightning start to the deployment earned standards of accommodation and enjoyed the off Diamond Rock (once HMS Diamond Rock
the ship media coverage locally, nationally and visit.” when a naval garrison was stationed there
internationally – with a healthy collection of After another spell of anti-drugs patrols to harass the French during the Napoleonic
cuttings building up on board. with her embarked United States Coast Guard Wars).
pictures: la(phot) stu hill, frpu north
NEW 003_NN_Sept.indd 1 19/8/09 15:30:27
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