By: Lt(N) Linda Coleman, Public Affairs Officer
It was a hot and humid day in the eastern Pacific Ocean on March 25, 2016 as Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Saskatoon and its embarked United States Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) conducted patrols during Operation CARIBBE, Canada’s contribution to the multinational campaign against the trafficking of illicit narcotics. It was a sticky 35 degrees Celsius and the inside of Saskatoon was buzzing with activity.
The ship received information from the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force (South) that a U.S. Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) had spotted a vessel of interest was in the area of operations. All shipboard specialists began to work together; the integration of the LEDET with HMCS Saskatoon’s operations team was seamless.
A positive picture began to develop over the day. The coordinates of the vessel of interest that had been spotted by the MPA were relayed to HMCS Saskatoon, and the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Commander Todd Bacon, made the order to proceed at operational speed on an intercept course towards the vessel.
As the MPA patrolled the area the vessel being monitored, a “panga”-style fishing boat, began to jettison its cargo—a common occurrence throughout Operation CARIBBE. The eastern Pacific Ocean is a known drug trafficking area for small boats, often fitted with multiple outboard motors. HMCS Saskatoon then prepared for the next phase of this particular tasking.
What started off as…