Royal Australian Navy’s Adelaide-class guided-missile frigate HMAS Darwin has seized almost one tonne of heroin in three separate busts off the coast of Africa.
The frigate made the interceptions, worth up to AU$800 million in late May while deployed to the U.S. Navy led Combined Maritime Forces.
With the support of a Combined Maritime Force (CMF) surveillance aircraft, Darwin conducted its first boarding on 21 May which yielded 380kg of drugs after a thorough search of the vessel.
Darwin’s helicopter identified a further two suspicious vessels on 22 May and 25 May with subsequent boardings revealing 512kg and 60 kilograms of drugs respectively.
All drugs seized were transferred to Darwin for testing and confirmed as heroin and later disposed at sea in accordance with Australian policy.
The Australian government routinely commits a Royal Australian Navy vessel and personnel to support the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) to defeat terrorism and prevent piracy. Currently HMAS Darwin is deployed on Operation MANITOU.
Darwin is the fifth ship to fully deploy to the Middel East under Operation MANITOU and represents the 62nd rotation of an RAN warship since the first Gulf War in 1990.
The ship’s embarked helicopter is a multi-role Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter, which provides the ship with surface search and aerial support capabilities for maritime security operations and Search and Rescue tasks.