Australian frigate seizes AU$ 1 billion of drugs on Middle East deployment

Photo: Royal Australian Navy

The crew of Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Ballarat seized over AU$1 billion worth of drugs during her nine months of operations in the Middle East.

The frigate achieved this by seizing over 12.9 tonnes of hashish, 1.4 tonnes of heroin and a small amount of methyl amphetamines, with a combined worth of AU$1.073 billion.

The combined hauls were confiscated in 10 separate seizure operations, with the latest occurring on May 10, 2019.

HMAS Ballarat has conducted 31 boardings since starting her deployment to the Middle East on operation Manitou in late October 2018.

Operation Manitou is the name for the Australian government’s contribution to international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East.

This is the second deployment to the Middle East for HMAS Ballarat and the 67th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy vessel in the region since 1990.

In exceeding AU$1 billion worth of interdictions, Ballarat is following sister ship HMAS Warramunga, which achieved the number during her deployment in 2017 and 2018.

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