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 used to produce explosives.
HMAS Ballarat has safely disposed of the seized items and has resumed routine tasking.
HMAS Ballarat has conducted 38 boardings since deploying to the Middle East on Operation MANITOU in November 2018.
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 second deployment to the Middle East for HMAS Ballarat and the 67th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy vessel in the region since 1990.
Operation MANITOU is the name for the Australian Government’s contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region.