HMAS Ballarat Home From Deployment

July 15, 2019 – The Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Ballarat has been enthusiastically welcomed home to Australia following a highly successful nine-month deployment as part of Operation MANITOU. Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC and Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price MP, were joined by family, friends and supporters on the wharf at Fleet Base West on Sunday 14 July 2019 to praise the counter-terrorism efforts of Ballarat’s 200 officers and sailors who seized nearly 20 tonnes of illicit drugs worth an estimated value…

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HMAS Ballarat conducts boarding

June 28, 2019 – While deployed to the Middle East Region for Operation MANITOU, HMAS Ballarat has conducted a boarding of a vessel (dhow) in international waters in the Arabian Sea. During the boarding, illicit cargo was discovered and seized which included nearly half a million rounds of small arms ammunition, and 697 bags of chemical fertilizer. The fertilizer 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…

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Four Successful Drug Interdictions by HMAS Ballarat

June 8, 2019 – Royal Australian Navy Frigate HMAS Ballarat has seized another four illicit drug shipments in three days while deployed to the Middle East region. The four boardings took place over the period 2–5 June 2019, as Ballarat conducted a routine patrol in the Arabian Sea in support of the Combined Maritime Forces. The drug seizures included a large quantity of hashish and illegal narcotics weighing a combined total of 5.8 tonnes or a haul similar in size to five family-sized motor vehicles. The suspicious vessels, known as…

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Over $1 billion of narcotics seized by HMAS Ballarat on Operation Manitou

May 29, 2019 – HMAS Ballarat has stopped illegal narcotics in excess of AUD$1 billion from funding terrorism and other illegal activity. The Australian Navy frigate recently seized over 12.9 tonnes of hashish, 1.4 tonnes of heroin and a small amount of methyl amphetamines, with a combined worth of AUD$1.073 billion*. The combined hauls were confiscated in 10 separate seizure operations, with the latest occurring on 10 May 2019. During this seizure, the boarding team took custody of over three tonnes of hashish with an estimated street value of AUD$53…

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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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Fleet Fires Up for 2019

February 18, 2019 – Navy’s tempo has increased this month, marking the start of a busy year for the Fleet with more than 20 ships and over 2,000 personnel at sea on any given day. A Joint Task Group comprised of HMA Ships Canberra, Newcastle and Success departed Fleet Base East yesterday for respective deployments of up to four months. The Task Group will spend the next several weeks participating in Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER, a major training activity off the coast of Western Australia involving forces from the United Kingdom…

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Royal Australian Navy Seizes Illegal Drug Shipments in the Middle East

February 2, 2019 – Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Ballarat has seized more than 2.1 tonnes of hashish and 345 kilograms of heroin in two boarding operations in the Arabian Sea. The narcotics seizures, worth approximately $105 million* and $103.5 million* respectively, took place on 28 and 29 January 2019 as part of Operation Manitou. Commanding Officer of HMAS Ballarat, Commander Paul Johnson, said Ballarat conducted the flag verification boardings following the observation of two fishing vessels, known as dhows, exhibiting suspicious behaviour. “The boardings were conducted under the direction…

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Maritime Warfare Exercise Conducted by France, UK, Australia & US

January 22, 2019 – Maritime forces from France, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States participated in the maritime warfare exercise Intrepid Sentinel in the Arabian Gulf, Jan. 15-17. Participating ships included France’s Marine Nationale F70AA-class air defense destroyer FS Cassard (D 614), United Kingdom’s Royal navy Daring-class air defense destroyer HMS Dragon (D 35), and Royal Australian navy Anzac-class frigate HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155), USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), and USS Spruance (DDG 111). “The exercise itself is meant to develop interoperability,…

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Cross Nation Cross Deck

January 22, 2019 – Sailors from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71 participated in a helicopter cross deck evolution between the ships of two different nations during the maritime coalition Exercise Intrepid Sentinel, Jan. 15. The pilots and air crewmen of HSM-71, assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, conducted helicopter cross deck training by flying from the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and landing on the Royal Australian Navy Anzac-class frigate HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155). Lt. John White, from Atlanta, an MH-60R pilot assigned to HSM-71…

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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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Joint ASW Exercise Conducted by France, Australia, US

December 19, 2018 – Maritime forces from France, Australia and the United States participated in Ship Anti-Submarine Warfare Readiness and Evaluation Measurement (SHAREM) 195 exercise in the Arabian Sea, Dec. 14-18. Participating ships included FS Cassard (D 614), HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155), USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS Spruance (DDG 111), USS Louisville (SSN 724), and USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4). Additionally, U.S. P-3C Orion aircraft and a French Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft supported the exercise from the air. “SHAREM provides a great opportunity for realistic training, strengthening the…

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HMAS Ballarat First Patrol Off to a Strong Start

December 15, 2108 – HMAS Ballarat has completed a successful first patrol in the Middle East. Over seven days, the Australian warship conducted joint operations with the United States Coast Guard and the Iraqi and Kuwaiti navies, and carried out almost 90 vessel boardings and approaches. Ballarat finished the patrol in Kuwait, taking the opportunity to reaffirm a Defence relationship that has existed since Australia helped liberate the country in 1991. The Commanding Officer, Commander Paul Johnson, said spirits on board were justifiably high after the strong start to the…

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HMAS Ballarat deploys for nine-month Middle East mission

October 28, 2018 – HMAS Ballarat and her Ship’s Company of 190 officers and sailors departed Fleet Base West at Garden Island, Western Australia for maritime security operations in the Middle East on Sunday, 28th October 2018. Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead joined family and friends to farewell the ship and loved ones for their nine-month deployment to Operation MANITOU. RADM Mead said Ballarat would continue the RAN’s contribution to the Middle East region to ensuring safe and open access to the region while fostering trade and commerce.…

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HMAS Ballarat Arrives Home With Rescued Solo Yachtsman

October 1, 2018 – HMAS Ballarat has returned to port after participating in a search and rescue mission for two solo round-the-world yachtsmen. Ballarat’s MH-60R ‘Romeo’ Seahawk helicopter recovered Irish national, Gregor McGuckin, from a French scientific research station on Amsterdam Island after he was transported there by French fishing vessel Osiris. The second sailor, Indian Navy Commander Abhilash Tomy, who suffered a back injury, is being picked up by Indian Navy frigate INS Satpura for return to India. Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mike Noonan, RAN, praised the quick…

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