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Tenth Successful Interdiction for HMAS Warramunga

Photo: Australian Government

Posted by Michelle Howard

HMAS Warramunga's crew has seized record amounts of narcotics on Operation Manitou following their latest interdiction.
In the latest haul, the crew of the Royal Australian Navy frigate seized approximately 132 kilograms of heroin valued at almost $40 million while patrolling international waters of the Arabian Sea on 6 March 2018.
The illegal narcotics interdiction is Warramunga's third seizure in the past seven days having also seized in excess of eight tonnes of hashish from two vessels just days earlier. It's the 10th vessel interdicted overall since the ship deployed to the region in November 2017.

Warramunga's illicit drug interceptions now total 19.5 tonnes of hashish and more than 1.6 tonnes of heroin, valued in excess of AUD$1.47 billion.*

The seizure was conducted following the detection of a suspect vessel operating in the area by Warramunga's Seahawk Romeo Helicopter. The subsequent boarding party search uncovered 120 packages of heroin, each weighing approximately one kilogram.

The Commanding Officer of HMAS Warramunga, Commander Dugald Clelland, RAN, put the additional success down to hard work and dedication of Warramunga's crew.

"HMAS Warramunga's force preparation before deployment, based on lessons from previous RAN deployments, coupled with valuable experience gained during nine previous narcotics seizures, has proven to be the basis of success in Warramanga's recent boarding operations."

Chief of Joint Operations Vice Admiral David Johnston, RAN, said this latest interdiction highlighted the professionalism of our people and also the importance of the work being undertaken by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).
"HMAS Warramunga's successes in the Middle East maritime region demonstrates our operations are having a significant impact on intercepting illegal drug trafficking in the maritime environment," VADM Johnston said.

"Their repeated successes can also be attributed to Coalition efforts at CMF and in particular Combined Task Force 150, currently under Australian Command and comprised of a combined Australian-Canadian staff."

The narcotics were transferred to Warramunga and disposed at sea.

Operation MANITOU is the Australian Government's contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region.

Combined Taskforce 150 is one of three task forces operating under Combined Maritime Forces. Australia assumed command of Combined Task Force 150 in December 2017.

Summary of vessels interdicted with drugs by Warramunga:
  • 27-29 December 2017: approx 8 tonnes hashish and 69 kilograms heroin, (three vessels interdicted over this period)
  • 3 January 2018: hashish, approx 3.5 tonnes
  • 7 January 2018: heroin, approx 111 kilograms
  • 24 January 2018: heroin, approx 915 kilograms
  • 1 February 2018: heroin, approx 414 kilograms
  • 3 March 2018: hashish, approx 4.1 tonnes
  • 4 March 2018: hashish, approx 3.9 tonnes
  • 6 March 2018: heroin, approx 132 kilograms.

*Note: This calculation is a based on the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Illicit Drug Data Report 2015-16 figures for Cannabis Resin (Hashish) @ AUD$50 per gram (p215) and Heroin @ AUD$300,000 per kilo (p216).

Mar 9, 2018


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