HMAS Warramunga is returning to Australia after a highly successful deployment to the Middle East Region.
FILE PHOTO: HMAS Warramunga in the Middle East Region. Photo by Leading Seaman Tom Gibson.
During her seven-and-a-half month deployment, the Royal Australian Navy warship intercepted 16 vessels carrying illicit narcotics and seized a total of around 31.8 tonnes of hashish and 2 tonnes of heroin valued at approximately AUD$2.17 billion.*
Minister for Defence Marise Payne said this was the largest cumulative total of illicit narcotics ever seized by an Australian major fleet unit.
“I would like to thank the men and woman of the RAN for their contribution to making a significant global difference to the distribution of unlawful drugs and illicit narcotics and protecting Australia’s national interests abroad,” Minister Payne said.
Outgoing Commanding Officer HMAS Warramunga Commander Dugald Clelland said the Anzac-class frigate’s contribution in disrupting narcotics smuggling in the region was significant.
“It has been a very successful deployment and the ship’s company is enormously proud of its achievements,” Commander Clelland said.
“Since arriving in the Middle East, our tasking has included counter-smuggling operations and working with our coalition partners to improve maritime security throughout the region.”
During the deployment, Warramunga also participated in exercises with French Navy and US Navy ships, and conducted an information exchange with the US Coast Guard.
Operations with the US Fifth Fleet as part of Task Force 50 and TF 55 included escort duties through the Strait of Hormuz and for US Ships Theodore Roosevelt and America during activities in the Gulf.
Commander Joint Task Force 633 Rear Admiral Jaimie Hatcher said the Australian ship had made an important contribution to global counter-terrorism efforts as part of the multinational coalition of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).
“HMAS Warramunga’s achievements are exceptional. The success of her deployment builds upon the foundation of Navy’s commitment to the Middle East for nearly three decades,” Rear Admiral Hatcher said.
This was Warramunga’s third deployment to the Middle East and the 66th rotation of a RAN vessel in the region since 1990.
The ship’s company of close to 200 people will be reunited with their families at Fleet Base East in Sydney, in a few weeks, after the long transit home.
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
- 3-5 June 2018: hashish, 6.3 tonnes
* 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).