Australian Navy frigate returning home from record Middle East deployment

HMAS Arunta's S70-B Helicopter (Skeletor) lands onboard during a patrol in the Middle East region. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac-class frigate HMAS Arunta is on her way home after completing the longest Middle Eastern deployment by an Australian Navy vessel since 1990.

Arunta concluded her assignment to Joint Task Force 633 as part of operation Manitou and handed over responsibility to HMAS Newcastle after completing a nine-month deployment conducting counter terrorism and maritime security operations.

The ship made three significant intercepts during the deployment netting more than 1310 kilograms of illegal narcotics.

“The 191 personnel in Arunta have performed superbly over the longest deployment to the Middle East the Australian Navy has committed to since the first Gulf War,” Commanding officer HMAS Arunta, Commander Cameron Steil, said.

“Over that period we have conducted a number of port visits, but most importantly, we have impacted terrorist funding lines through the interception and disposal of illegal drugs on three occasions.”

The ship intercepted 800 kilograms of hashish hidden inside a consignment of coffee on 2 March, 250 kilograms of heroin inside a dhow on 10 May 2017 and 260 kilograms of heroin inside a dhow on 8 June.

During her deployment, Arunta traveled more than 33,000 nautical miles, equivalent to circumnavigating Australia almost five times.

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