HMAS Warramunga makes two more drug hauls in Arabian Sea

Australian Navy sailors offload narcotics from an intercepted vessel during HMAS Warramunga’s deployment to operation Manitou. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Warramunga has continued her drug interception streak with an additional two hauls of illicit narcotics in the Arabian Sea.

The narcotics were intercepted following boarding operations in international waters of the Arabian Sea this week and are valued at approximately AUD$315.4 million, according to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Illicit Drug Data Report 2015–16 figures.

The ship detected two separate suspect vessels via their MH-60R Seahawk Romeo helicopter over the course of two days

Warramunga’s boarding party was subsequently deployed and upon conducting searches uncovered approximately 6.2 tonnes of hashish on the two vessels.

The narcotics were transferred to Warramunga and disposed at sea.

Commander CTF 150, Commodore Mal Wise, RAN, said the seizures reinforced the CTF’s ability to target and disrupt activities that generate funding for terrorist and criminal organisations.

“The interdiction and disposal of these illicit narcotics directly impacts these organisations and shows that CTF 150 and the CMF remain focused on countering terrorism, preventing piracy, encouraging regional cooperation and promoting a safe maritime environment,” CDRE Wise said.

These are the twelfth and thirteenth vessels trafficking narcotics that Warramunga has intercepted since starting operations in the Middle East in November 2017.

This takes Warramunga’s total seizures to approximately 26 tonnes of hashish and approximately two tonnes of heroin, valued in excess of AUD$1.8 billion.

Operation MANITOU is the Australian government’s contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region.

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