Royal Navy ship has helped seize £60m worth of drugs in the Caribbean Sea.
Portsmouth-based HMS Dauntless launched its helicopter and a Royal Marines sniper team to intercept the target.
When smugglers began to throw their illegal cargo overboard, their engines were taken out by the commando snipers, allowing a US Coast Guard team to board and seize 11 bales of cocaine.
The ship’s commanding officer, Commander Ben Dorrington, praised the crew’s resilience and adaptability.
He added he “cannot ask for more from my team”.
Earlier in the same patrol but in a separate operation, suspected smugglers sabotaged and sunk their own speedboat as Dauntless closed in.
As a result, a raid for suspected drugs turned into a rescue operation.
Two people were saved and brought aboard HMS Dauntless, where they were given medical treatment, food and water before being transferred to a US Navy ship.
One of Dauntless’ officers – who cannot be named for operational reasons – said the safety of everyone involved was “paramount, including that of the people suspected of transporting illicit contraband”.
“To that end it was vital that with their fast-sinking vessel, we suspended the boarding operation in order to rescue the two souls on the small craft to ensure their safety and lives were not put at risk,” they said.
Dauntless was deployed to the Caribbean in May to work with British Overseas Territories in the region during the hurricane season and assist in drugs smuggling operations.
The recent bust means Dauntless has now helped seize over £200m worth of illegal narcotics following a £140m seizure over the summer.