Ballarat seizes suspected arms shipment

HMAS Ballarat has conducted a boarding of a dhow in international waters in the Arabian Sea, finding, seizing and destroying a cargo believed to be destined to arm terrorists.

CAPTION: Lieutenant Megan Ryan stacks boxes ammunition seized during a boarding in HMAS Ballarat’s hangar. Photo by Leading Seaman Bradley Darvill.

Nearly half a million rounds of small-arms ammunition and 697 bags of chemical fertiliser were found on the dhow.

Defence says the fertiliser has possible dual use for the manufacture of improvised explosives.

“This seizure is of significant concern to maritime security, in particular the illicit proliferation of ammunition and chemicals which could be used to produce explosives,” a Defence spokesperson said.

“HMAS Ballarat has safely disposed of the seized items and has resumed routine tasking.”

Defence did not say when this boarding and seizure took place, though the photos are dated 26 June.

HMAS Ballarat has conducted 38 boardings since deploying to the Middle East on Operation Manitou in November last year.

During this time the crew of HMAS Ballarat has stopped illegal narcotics in excess of AUD$1 billion from funding terrorism and other illegal activity.

This is the first direct interdiction of actual ammunition and suspected bomb-making chemicals.

HMAS Ballarat is on her second deployment to the Middle East– the 67th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy vessel in the region since 1990.

 

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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