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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More illegal drugs seized by HMAS Ballarat

March 9, 2019 – Royal Australian Navy Anzac-class frigate HMAS Ballarat has seized two tonnes of hashish worth approximately $100 million in street value during a boarding operation in the Middle East Region. The boarding was conducted in international waters by the Combined Task Force 150 under the direction of the Combined Maritime Forces as part of Operation MANITOU. Ballarat is on her second deployment to the Middle East Region and is the 67th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy vessel to the region since 1990.

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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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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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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 Warramunga interdicts eleventh narcotics haul

Building on her already successful Operation MANITOU deployment, HMAS Warramunga has seized and disposed of 295 kilograms of heroin valued at about $88.5 million while patrolling waters in the Arabian Sea on 10 May 2018. The illicit narcotics interdiction is Warramunga’s 11th seizure in the seven months since deploying to the region in November 2017, and has further disrupted the flow of terrorist funding in the Middle East. Warramunga’s illicit drug interceptions now total 19.5 tonnes of hashish and almost 2 tonnes of heroin, valued at approximately $1.56 billion. These regular seizures have…

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HMAS Warramunga Continues Operational Success

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Warramunga seized 111 kilograms of heroin valued at $33 million during operations in the Arabian Sea on 7 January 2018. This is the third successful interdiction for Warramunga in the past fortnight, taking the ship’s total seizures to more than 11.5 tonnes of hashish and 180 kilograms of heroin and a total approximate value of $629 million. The operation was carried out under the direction of the Combined Maritime Forces’ Australian-led Combined Task Force 150, after the suspect vessel was assessed to be engaged in…

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ScanEagle completes operational evaluation

HMAS Newcastle has conducted the Royal Australian Navy’s first simultaneous operations of manned and unmanned aircraft during its current deployment to the Middle East on Operation MANITOU. In September, Newcastle’s MH-60R helicopter and ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial System were employed on concurrent surface search tasking in the Gulf of Oman in support of Task Force 50, United States Navy’s 5th Fleet. Commanding Officer, Newcastle, Commander Mark Sirois said the integration of manned and unmanned aerial operations offered significant flexibility to Commanders at sea. “The cooperative employment of both aviation platforms allows…

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Communications sailor on task in Middle East

Able Seaman Communications and Information Systems Sean Perrett coordinates ship movements via Morse Code on the bridge wing of HMAS Arunta while on patrol in the Middle East region. Look at the shabby condition of the signal light, part of a growing trend away from pride in the appearance in one’s ship.  RAN photo. February 6, 2017 – Part of Australia’s team in the Middle East region, contributing to counter terrorism, counter piracy and narcotics interdiction operations, is a sailor more familiar with patrol boats than frigates. Able Seaman Communication and Information Systems Sean…

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