WILLEMSTAD – After a chase of more than seven hours, the station ship of the Royal Navy Zr.Ms. Friesland, in collaboration with Coast Guard Caribbean Area, intercepted about 900 kilos of cocaine. This happened on the night of Thursday 20 September north of Aruba. The persons on board were arrested and handed over to the US Coast Guard together with the contraband. In the interest of the investigation, this information is only now released.
During a patrol, the NH-90 helicopter spotted a fast-going (go-fast) boat on the radar. The helicopter crew identified a large number of suspicious packages on board the go-fast. The Friesland and the helicopter then started to chase after the boat and forced it to stop. The DASH-8 aircraft from the Coast Guard Caribbean was also dispatched to support the pursuit.
Stop signals and warning shots of the helicopter, unfortunately, did not have the desired effect on the crew of the go-fast. This immediately took off at a high speed. The FRISC, one of the fast intercepting boats of Zr.Ms. Friesland, was dispatched. When the helicopter approached the go-fast together with the FRISC, the crew of the go-fast threw various packages off the boat. These were taken out of the water by the FRISC while the helicopter continued its pursuit. Two out of three outboard engines were disabled from the helicopter. As a result, the go-fast was limited in its sailing speed. The FRISC’s gunner disabled the last outboard engine, after which the crew of the go-fast surrendered. The four persons on board were arrested and handed over to the authorities.
In total, about 900 kilos of cocaine were intercepted with this action. On behalf of the Commander of the Navy in the Caribbean (CZMCARIB) Zr.Ms. Friesland is currently performing anti-drug operations in the Caribbean Sea. The ship and its crew are part of a permanent multinational drug control operation led by the Joint Interagency Task Force South. The ship operates within a Taskgroup that the CZMCARIB commands. Anti-drug operations are one of the main tasks of Defense in the Caribbean.