HMAS Melbourne nets another $64 million of heroin

Published on Department of Defence (author), ABIS Bonny Gassner (photographer)

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, HMAS Melbourne (F05), Drug interdiction, Duke of Gloucester's Cup

Over 216 kilograms of heroin with a street value of AUD$64 million was confisicated by HMAS Melbourne while on operations in the Middle East Region. These drugs were discovered onboard a fishing vessel intercepted by HMAS Melbourne. After being siezed the illegal narcotics were transferred to HMAS Melbourne for analysis and disposal at sea. (photo: ABIS Bonny Gassner)
Over 216 kilograms of heroin with a street value of AUD$64 million was confisicated by HMAS Melbourne while on operations in the Middle East Region. These drugs were discovered onboard a fishing vessel intercepted by HMAS Melbourne. After being siezed the illegal narcotics were transferred to HMAS Melbourne for analysis and disposal at sea.

HMAS Melbourne has struck a third time against the trafficking of narcotics in the Middle East confiscating another 216 kilograms of high-grade heroin worth an estimated $64 million.

The seizure takes the Royal Australian Navy’s narcotics haul since February 2014 to over 5 tonnes and to almost $664 million for 2015.  
 
Melbourne’s
Commanding Officer, Commander Bill Waters, said the intercept was a great success for the ship and her boarding teams.

“It also highlights the work of our support agencies ashore that provide us the vital intelligence needed to be in the right place at the right time,” he said.
 
“It’s a big ocean out here, so to get a result it’s a team effort from a number of nations and organisations.”

HMAS Melbourne intercepts a fishing vessel suspected of smuggling illegal narcotics. A subsequent search of the vessel revealed over 216  kilograms of high-grade heroin valued at AUD$64 million.

HMAS Melbourne intercepts a fishing vessel suspected of smuggling illegal narcotics. A subsequent search of the vessel revealed over 216 kilograms of high-grade heroin valued at AUD million.


Commodore Jaimie Hatcher the Australian commander of Combined Task Force 150, which coordinated the support, praised the efforts of Melbourne.
 
“While it is very pleasing to get a result within a week of assuming command of CTF 150, the ultimate success lies with the skill of Melbourne’s crew, in particular her boarding teams.” 
 
The heroin was transferred to Melbourne for further analysis.
 
The intercept tops a momentous week for the crew of Melbourne which included her claiming the Gloucester Cup which is awarded annually to the best Royal Australian Navy unit.
 
“We’ve had a very successful year and this seizure is a great way to cap it off,” Commander Waters said.
 
“This award could not have been possible without the support of our families.
 
“They are as much a part of this ship as we are.”
 

A member HMAS Melbourne's boarding team reaches deep into the fishing vessel searching for illigal narcotics. The haul consisted of 216 kilograms of high-grade heroin valued at AUD$64 million.

A member HMAS Melbourne's boarding team reaches deep into the fishing vessel searching for illigal narcotics. The haul consisted of 216 kilograms of high-grade heroin valued at AUD million.


Melbourne
is on her eighth deployment to the Middle East region as part of Operation MANITOU, Australia’s contribution to Maritime Security Operations in the Middle East region.
 
She is the 61st rotation of a Royal Australian Navy vessel in the region since the first Gulf War in 1991.
 
Melbourne
is operating within Combined Task Force 150, which is one of three principle task forces operated by the Combined Maritime Force, a 30-nation coalition based in Bahrain.
 
Monetary value is based on Table 59 of the Australian Crime Commission’s Illicit Drug Data Report 2013-14.
 
Imagery is available on the Defence Image Library at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20153583.