HMAS Toowoomba completed a successful Operation MANITOU maritime security deployment to the Middle East Region on Saturday, 13 December 2014, and is heading home to Perth.
Deployed as part of Australia’s Joint Task Force 633, Toowoomba conducted security patrols as part of the international community’s Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and Combined Task Force (CTF) 150.
Chief of Joint Operations Command, Vice Admiral David Johnston said during her four-month deployment the ANZAC class frigate with a Ship’s Company of 191 personnel seized 6.3 tonnes of narcotics.
Vice Admiral David Johnston said:
HMAS Toowoomba has been operating in areas as diverse as the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, and across a vast section of the Indian Ocean along the east coast of Africa.
Toowoomba conducted 20 boardings, spending more than 240 hours inspecting dhows transiting the region, which of course ultimately saw her seize in excess of half-a-billion dollars (Australian) worth of narcotics which would have otherwise funded terrorist operations. A magnificent achievement made possible by international co-operation.
Toowoomba’s first operational success occurred on 18 September 2014 when the warship intercepted a dhow 320 km off the coast of Africa carrying 5.6 tonnes of cannabis resin with an estimated Australian street value of over $280 million.
Toowoomba’s success continued with two further narcotic interceptions in quick succession on 17 and 19 November resulting in the discovery of 388kg and 324kg of heroin hidden in void spaces. The 712kg total had a combined estimated Australian street value of over $285 million.
While Toowoomba’s primary mission was maritime security operations, the frigate also contributed to the prosperity and security of the region by rendering assistance to a dhow with propulsion failure which was under tow and had almost completely run out of water.
Operation MANITOU is the Australian Government’s contribution to the international effort to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region.
HMAS Toowoomba is the 58th Australian warship to deploy to the Middle East since the first Gulf War in 1990.
Press release, Image: Australian Navy