HMAS Warramunga has seized two more hauls of illicit narcotics valued at approximately AUD$315.4 million* following boarding operations in international waters of the Arabian Sea this week.
CAPTION: Leading Seaman James Walker (right) passes a parcel of seized narcotics to Able Seaman Stephanie Pannell during a drug-seizure operation in the Middle East. Photo by Leading Seaman Tom Gibson.
Warramunga is currently deployed to the Middle East under Operation Manitou and over the course of two days while assigned to Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), the ship detected two separate suspect vessels via their MH-60R Seahawk Romeo helicopter on 21 and 22 May.
The ship’s boarding party was subsequently deployed and upon conducting searches uncovered approximately 6.2 tonnes of hashish on the two vessels.
Commander CTF 150 Commodore Mal Wise said the seizures reinforced the CTF’s ability to target and disrupt activities that generate funding for terrorist and criminal organisations.
“The interdiction and disposal of these illicit narcotics directly impacts these organisations and shows that CTF 150 and the CMF remain focused on countering terrorism, preventing piracy, encouraging regional cooperation and promoting a safe maritime environment,” Commander Wise said.
These are the twelfth and thirteenth vessels trafficking narcotics that Warramunga has intercepted since starting operations in the Middle East in November 2017.
This takes Warramunga’s total seizures to approximately 26 tonnes of hashish and two tonnes of heroin, valued in excess of AUD$1.8 billion.*
The narcotics were transferred to Warramunga and disposed of 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.
CTF 150 is one of three task forces operating under CMF. The combined Australian-Canadian CTF 150 command team handed over to a combined United Kingdom, New Zealand, and French team yesterday.
Summary of drug interdictions by HMAS Warramunga:
- 27-29 December 2017: 8 tonnes hashish, 69kg heroin, (from three vessels)(with video)
- 3 January 2018: 3.5 tonnes hashish
- 7 January 2018: 111kg heroin (with video)
- 24 January 2018: 915kg heroin (with video)
- 1 February 2018: 414kg heroin (with video)
- 3 March 2018: hashish, approx 4.1 tonnes (with video)
- 4 March 2018: hashish, approx 3.9 tonnes (with video)
- 6 March 2018: heroin, approx 132kg (with video)
- 10 May 2018: heroin, approx 295kg
- 21-22 May 2018: hashish, aprox 6.2 tonnes (this story)
* Value is a based on the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Illicit Drug Data Report 2015–16 figures for Cannabis Resin (Hashish) @ AUD$50,000 per kilogram (p215) and Heroin @ AUD$300,000 per kilogram (p216).