HMAS Melbourne has intercepted a shipment of 353 kilograms of what is believed to be heroin during a boarding operation on a suspected drug smuggling dhow off the coast of Tanzania on Wednesday, 5 February 2014.
The drugs are said to be worth $706 million Australian dollars, circa USD 626 million.
The ship received the command to close and board the suspect vessel as part of the 29-nation Combined Maritime Forces.
The frigate directed her S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter to locate the suspicious vessel. Once detected, the Australian Navy boarding team boarded the vessel and searched for illicit cargo, which was concealed in hidden compartments onboard the vessel.
The substance was tested onboard the vessel and returned a positive reading for heroin. HMAS Melbourne’s team seized the suspected drugs, took samples and destroyed the remainder.
“During her time with Combined Maritime Forces, she has successfully disrupted a piracy attack, and conducted four successful narcotics seizures, seizing 23.8 kilograms of methamphetamines and now 353 kilograms of heroin.These seizures have severely impacted the funding network of those terrorist organisations that rely on these shipments for income,” Australian Commander of Combined Task Force 150, Commodore Daryl Bates, said.
The Australian Navy’s Adelaide-class guided-missile frigate HMAS Melbourne is patrolling the waters of the Middle east Area of Operation within the framework of Operation SLIPPER.
|ADELAIDE-CLASS GUIDED MISSILE FRIGATE- SPECIFICATIONS|
|Speed||over 30 knots|
|Complement||184 + aircrew|
|Range||4,500 nautical miles|
Naval Today Staff, February 7, 2014; Image: Royal Australian Navy