Navy crew helps apprehend drug smugglers

Published on LEUT Anthony Martin (author), LSIS Kayla Jackson (photographer)

Topic(s): Drug interdiction, ADV Cape Fourcroy (310)

File image: Australian Defence Vessel Cape Fourcroy departs HMAS Coonawarra to conduct continuation training as part of Operation RESOLUTE in 2017. (photo: ABIS Kayla Hayes)
File image: Australian Defence Vessel Cape Fourcroy departs HMAS Coonawarra to conduct continuation training as part of Operation RESOLUTE in 2017.

The Commanding Officer of the Australian Defence Vessel at the centre of a major drug bust off the New South Wales coast, says his team chased the suspect vessel for up to eight hours before the suspects could be apprehended by police.

Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Cape Fourcroy, under the command of Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multi-agency taskforce within the Australian Border Force, joined forces with the Australian Federal Police, Queensland Police Service and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, in a successful operation that resulted in the arrest of two men and the seizure of more than 600 kilograms of cocaine.

The activity culminated in a marathon water pursuit on Tuesday, where MBC tasked ADV Cape Fourcroy to respond. As the suspect vessel was approached by authorities, the men attempted to evade interception. While they were being pursued by ADV Cape Fourcroy, they allegedly jettisoned items into the sea. The ADV Cape Fourcroy crew gathered up the cargo before continuing its pursuit until police were able to make the final arrests.

Commanding Officer of ADV Cape Fourcroy, Lieutenant Commander Ken Brown had 24 Navy crew and trainees embarked during the operation.

“I am extremely proud of my crew. We did a lot of training leading up to this operation and when the time came they carried out their duties flawlessly. Our success is due to their efforts.” said LCDR Brown.

The ship and crew worked closely with all Taskforce units to meet operational goals. LCDR Brown noted this close collaboration, “We had good communications between Queensland Police and Maritime Border Command throughout the operation.”

ADV Cape Fourcroy has had a busy year with this achievement adding to the vessel’s success, rescuing a seriously ill crewman of a civilian vessel earlier in the year. ADV Cape Fourcroy is based in Cairns and contributes greatly to the valuable work undertaken to support Operation RESOLUTE, the ADF’s contribution to MBC in combatting civil maritime security threats in our waters.