Australian Navy Drug Seizures Top $2.3 Bn in 2 Years

In its sixth successful haul in eight weeks, Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Newcastle seized 139kg of heroin, with an estimated street value of around $AUD 41 million, off the East coast of Africa.

Under the auspices of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), the latest haul brings the Australian Navy’s total seizures in the Middle East region over the last two years to an estimated street value of $AUD 2.3 billion.

The Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston, said Australia’s material contribution through Operation Manitou was testament to CMF planning and the Royal Australian Navy’s focused training, professionalism and capability.

“This year alone HMAS Newcastle has seized 1.4 tonnes of heroin, valued at over $AUD 413 million,” Vice Admiral Johnston said.

“That’s an extraordinary impact on the funding of terrorist organisations, which is where much of these illegal drug profits end up.”

At Australia’s main operating base in the Middle East region, the Commander of Joint Task Force 633, Rear Admiral Trevor Jones, said Australia’s military contribution to the international effort to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region goes from strength to strength.

“HMAS Newcastle and her crew have dealt yet another blow to terrorism,” Rear Admiral Jones said.

HMAS Newcastle ’s Commanding Officer, Commander Dominic MacNamara, spoke of his crew’s impressive contribution to the CMF to date.

“The fact that we continue to be successful says much about the way the ship and supporting headquarters work together in order to achieve the results we have,” Commander MacNamara said.

“We have trained extremely well, both back at home and in the Middle East region, and continue to display the professionalism and dedication required to be an integral part of the CMF.”

The latest haul was recovered during a routine verification boarding on 3 July when Newcastle intercepted a dhow and discovered the narcotics hidden on board.

Newcastle was patrolling with the CMF’s Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), currently led by France.

Since France took command of CTF 150 in early April, CMF ships have seized 1.7 tons of heroin.

CTF 150 is one of three task forces operated by the CMF, a multinational force comprising 30 nations. The CMF exists to promote security, stability and prosperity across more than 2.5 million square miles of international waters that include some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

Source: MoD Australia
Date: Jul 8, 2015