HMAS Ballarat continues illicit drug seizures in the Middle East

May 13, 2019 – HMAS Ballarat has intercepted another 2.6 tonnes of illicit drugs while conducting a patrol in international waters in the Arabian Sea. The seizures, including approximately 2.5 tonnes of hashish and 135kg of heroin, were discovered in two vessels suspected of illegal activity on 5 and 7 May 2019. The vessels, known as dhows, were exhibiting signs of suspicious activity and were subsequently boarded and inspected by the crew of HMAS Ballarat. Commanding Officer HMAS Ballarat, Commander Paul Johnson, said the seizure was indicative of a highly…

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HMAS Ballarat Seizes 3.1 Tonnes of Hashish in the Middle East

January 13, 2019 – Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Ballarat has seized more than 3.1 tonnes of hashish worth about $155 million* during a boarding operation that took place 8-9 January 2019 in international waters in the Arabian Sea. The fishing vessel, known as a dhow, was believed to be engaged in illegal activity when Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) directed Ballarat to board the vessel and conduct a flag verification check. Ballarat’s boarding team searched the dhow and seized the hashish. The…

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Royal Australian Navy seizes illegal drug shipments in the Middle East

December 28, 2018 – Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Ballarat has seized more than 900 kilos of heroin worth approximately $279 million* during two boarding operations that took place 21–23 Dec 18 as part of Operation MANITOU. Ballarat conducted flag verification checks by boarding vessels of interest, under the direction of the Combined Maritime Forces’ (CMF) Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 in international waters in the Arabian Sea. The fishing vessels, known as dhows, were believed to be engaging in illegal activity. The boarding team discovered and seized illegal narcotics…

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FS Floreal Nabs 7000 KG of Hashishi

September 26, 2018 – The French frigate FS Floreal struck twice in 24 hours to seize over 7000kg of hashish, valued at $3.5m,¹ from suspicious dhows. This is most significant seizure of illicit drugs in the Indian Ocean since the Royal Saudi Naval Force took over command of CMF’s Combined Task Force (CTF)150 in August. On the 23rd of September, the first fishing dhow was spotted behaving in a suspicious manner. FS Floreal conducted a boarding and discovered 3900kg of hashish, which was confiscated and later destroyed. Barely a few…

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HMAS Warramunga Middle East Completes Mission

Minister for Defence, the Hon Marise Payne, today announced HMAS Warramunga is returning to Australia after a highly successful Royal Australian Navy (RAN) deployment to the Middle East Region. Minister Payne said that during the seven-and-a-half month deployment, the Australian warship intercepted 16 vessels carrying illicit narcotics, seizing a total of around 31.8 tonnes of hashish and two tonnes of heroin valued at approximately $2.17 billion.* “This is the largest cumulative total ever seized by an Australian Major Fleet Unit,” Minister Payne said. “I would like to thank the men…

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HMAS Warramunga seizes eight tonnes of illicit drugs

HMAS Warramunga has intercepted two vessels and seized approximately eight tonnes of hashish valued at approximately $400 million during operations in international waters of the Arabian Sea. Warramunga has now seized 19.5 tonnes of hashish and 1.5 tonnes of heroin, valued in excess of $1.43 billion* since deploying to the Middle East in November 2017. On 3 March Warramunga’s Seahawk helicopter crew detected a vessel of interest during surveillance operations. A boarding party searched the vessel, uncovering 4.1 tonnes of illicit cargo. The Seahawk crew then detected a second vessel…

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Australia-New Zealand Indian Ocean operation nets AUD$274 million in heroin

HMAS Warramunga’s crew has conducted one of the largest drug seizures in Operation MANITOU’s history as part of the Australian-led Combined Task Force 150. In a joint counter-narcotics operation, the Royal Australian Navy and the New Zealand Defence Force seized 915 kilograms of heroin valued in excess of AUD$274 million. A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 aircraft detected a suspicious vessel in the Western Indian Ocean on 23 January 2018, which was boarded and investigated by the crew in Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Warramunga on 24 January. Over the past two months Warramunga’s crew…

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USS Laboon Makes Second Drug Bust in a Week

March 21, 2017 – For the second time in five days, guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58) intercepted a small, stateless dhow in the international waters of the Arabian Sea and seized 500 kilograms of Hashish, March 17. Laboon, conducting maritime security operations in the region as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 of the Combined Maritime Forces, conducted an inspection of the vessel as part of a flag verification boarding and found the illicit cargo. Lt. Dan Foley, the boarding officer who led the team which made…

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