HMAS Warramunga, featuring a Seahawk Romeo helicopter from 816 Squadron at HMAS Albatross, has continued its success in the Middle East, securing another narcotics haul, this time 295 kilograms of heroin valued at about $88.5 million.
Building on its already successful Operation Manitou deployment, the crew of Warramunga seized the drugs while patrolling waters in the Arabian Sea on May 10.
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 two tonnes of heroin, valued at approximately $1.56 billion.
These regular seizures have helped to disrupt the nexus between criminality and terrorism.
Following the detection of a suspect vessel in the Arabian Sea by Warramunga’s Seahawk Romeo helicopter, Nemesis, a boarding party search uncovered a number of packages containing heroin.
Commanding Officer of Warramunga, Commander Dugald Clelland, said the successful boarding and interdiction has been another boost for the ship’s already high morale.
Warramunga's 11th drug haul in seven months now tops $1.56 billion.Defence
“To have a successful interdiction on this latest patrol means a lot to the crew and reinforces the importance of our mission here in the Middle East region,” Commander Clelland said.
After being transferred to Warramunga, the narcotics were disposed of at sea.
Warramunga’s impressive haul includes -
December 27-29, 2017: approximately 8 tonnes hashish and 69 kilogram heroin, (three vessels interdicted over this period).
January 3, 2018: hashish, approx 3.5 tonnes.
January 7, 2018: heroin, approx 111 kilograms.
January 24, 2018: heroin, approx 915 kilograms.
February 1, 2018: heroin, approx 414 kilograms.
March 3, 2018: hashish, approx 4.1 tonnes.
March 4, 2018: hashish, approx 3.9 tonnes.
March 10, 2018: heroin, approx 132 kilograms.
May 10, 2018 heroin, approx 295 kilograms.
Manitou is the Australian Government's contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region.
Combined Taskforce 150, of which Australia assumed command of in December 2017, is one of three task forces operating under Combined Maritime Forces.