The Royal Australian Navy’s frigate HMAS Melbourne pulled off the fourth drug seizure since September 2015. Melbourne’s crew seized more than 100 kilograms of heroin from a fishing vessel in the Indian Ocean.
The ship’s boarding party conducted a search of a vessel on December 26 and discovered 118kg of drugs hidden inside which was subsequently transported to the Royal Australian Navy frigate for further analysis and disposal.
Specialised equipment onboard Melbourne identified the drugs as high-grade heroin which is valued at approximately $108.8 million based on Australian Crime Commission figures.
Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston, said the latest seizure took the total drugs seized by Royal Australian Navy ships in the Middle East to more than five tonnes in the past two years.
Since starting operational duties in September 2015, Melbourne has conducted four successful seizures of illegal narcotics totalling more than 900 kilograms.
This is Melbourne’s eighth deployment to the region and the 61st for the Royal Australian Navy since the Gulf War in 1991.
The Royal Australian Navy said HMAS Melbourne would be replaced by HMAS Darwin. HMAS Darwin departs Sydney on December 30 for the Middle East.