Royal Australian Navy Frigate HMAS Melbourne and Pakistani Naval Ship (PNS) Alamgir have worked together to seize and destroy almost 2-tonnes of suspected cannabis resin with an estimated Australian street value of approximately $AUD 113 million.
PNS Alamgir located the suspect dhow east of Masriah Island, Oman early on 12 February 2014.
While Alamgir tracked the dhow, HMAS Melbourne provided support and boarded the vessel on 13 February and found 1951 kilograms of cannabis resin in a hidden compartment within the vessel’s fishing hold.
HMAS Melbourne’s Commanding Officer, Commander Brian Schlegel said the success of the drug seizure helps to prevent the funding of international terrorism.
“The 62 bags contain cannabis resin bricks – almost 4000 bricks in total. Each brick is more than enough to buy an AK-47 or IED components. Therefore, removing the funding that flows from the sale of these drugs has a direct impact on a terrorist organisation’s ability to buy weapons in the future,” Commander Schlegel said.
PNS Alamgir and HMAS Melbourne are deployed on patrol in the Indian Ocean under tasking to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).
Australia’s Commodore Daryl Bates, the current commander of CMF’s Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, said the successful operation involving the Pakistani and Australian frigates, demonstrates how well the navies of the Combined Maritime Forces are working together to combat terrorism and terrorist-related activities in the Middle East and Indian Ocean regions.
CTF 150 as part of the CMF, conducts maritime security and interdiction operations to deter terrorism and promote peace and security in the maritime regions of the Middle East and Indian Ocean.
Since departing Australia last August, HMAS Melbourne has successfully interdicted nine suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia, seized 543 kilograms of pure heroin estimated to be worth in excess of $AUD 1 billion and 23.8 kilograms of suspected methamphetamines.
Under Operation SLIPPER, HMAS Melbourne and Australia’s commitment to CTF 150 are both key elements of the Joint Task Force 633, deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations.
Imagery is available on the Australian Defence Image Library at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20140289.