Thursday, July 3, 2008

Salute on a job well done Prince

What? Was he at a party?

Just kidding.

Good job your Highness.

One's nicked

By DUNCAN LARCOMBE Royal Correspondent and JOHN KAY Chief Reporter

THIS is the dramatic moment when Prince William helped to nick drug runners trying to smuggle £40million-worth of cocaine across the Atlantic.
Wills, 26, was a lookout on a Navy helicopter that swooped on a suspicious powerboat north east of Barbados.

The six-strong crew put themselves in dire danger as they hovered just feet above the craft and ordered it to stop.

A military source said last night: “If the drug runners had decided to open fire with machineguns it could have been very sticky for Prince William.”

Armed agents who boarded the powerboat found nearly a ton of cocaine stacked in bales.

£40m haul ... seized cocaine

The coke and five smugglers were then loaded on to HMS Iron Duke, the warship on which sub-lieutenant Wills is serving.


The daring mission was a spectacular start to the Prince’s stint on the Iron Duke.

Wills, known as Sub Lt Wales in the military, joined the crew of the frigate only four days before — as it began new patrols aimed at foiling maritime drug runners.

Last night he won praise from the ship’s captain Commander Mark Newland. He told The Sun: “Sub Lt Wales was my trained pair of eyes in the skies and a valuable member of the team.

“The team was able to provide vitally important surveillance and intelligence which led to the successful conclusion of the mission.”

The drug bust — a joint operation with the US Coastguard — took place on Saturday.

A pilot and an observer in command of the mission sat in the front of the Lynx chopper.

Wills was in the back with a Marine armed with a high-powered sniper rifle, another commando with a machinegun and an American coastguard.


The Marines kept their safety catches off and maintained a constant watch for attacks by the drug runners. But in the event no one opened fire.
The 50ft powerboat — known by cops as a “go-fast” and thought to be heading to Europe or West Africa — was in poor condition. And it later sank.

Vital role ... Wills in uniform

The Prince’s attachment to the Navy tops more than two years in the military.

Last night a Royal source said: “This is the closest William will ever get to the action. It’s fair to say he really enjoyed the buzz of being involved in the front-line fight against drug barons.
“And with this kind of success in his first few days, who knows what he will have achieved by the time he leaves HMS Iron Duke in August?”

Cdr Newland told how his new recruit had settled in well — and had yet to be seasick.
The captain said: “Sub Lt Wales was up again at 4am today to be on the bridge to help to supervise a fuel replenishment operation, in complete darkness and quite heavy seas.

“I am extremely pleased with the progress he has made already.

“I very much hope that in about five weeks he will take the watch on the bridge and actually drive the ship under my supervision.”

Cdr Newland added: “Apart from Sub Lt Wales and the rest of the team on the Lynx, I would like to praise the work of my sea bosuns aged 19 and 20.

“They spent 14 hours on this operation in a small surface craft in seas of more than 6ft, mainly in darkness.”

Others involved in the swoop included Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency and the

British-led Maritime Analysis and Operation Centre in Lisbon, Portugal.

Cdr Newland said: “This is a fantastic start to HMS Iron Duke’s North Atlantic deployment.
“To have had a direct impact on the flow of cocaine into Europe just four days after we arrived in theatre shows the benefit the Royal Navy can have in maritime security and counter-drug operations.

“From the first moment the Lynx discovered the suspect vessel my ship’s company, working hand in glove with our US Coastguard colleagues, turned this opportunity into a successful seizure. I am immensely proud of all their efforts.”