HMAS Warramunga drug busts top $1 billion

This article has a video attachmentPublished on Department of Defence (author), LSIS Tom Gibson (photographer)

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, HMAS Warramunga (F152), Drug interdiction

Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Caleb Larnach awaits the start of a boarding operation in the Western Indian Ocean as part of HMAS Warramunga's deployment on Operation MANITOU. (photo: LSIS Tom Gibson)
Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Caleb Larnach awaits the start of a boarding operation in the Western Indian Ocean as part of HMAS Warramunga's deployment on Operation MANITOU.
The crew of Anzac class frigate HMAS Warramunga has seized more than $1 billion of illegal drugs since deploying to the Middle East Region for Operation MANITOU.
 
The latest bust occurred on 1st February when 414 kilograms of heroin was seized in an operation planned by the Combined Task Force 150. The subsequent boarding of a suspect vessel by Warramunga’s crew located the narcotics.
 
The milestone came as Australia led the Combined Task Force 150 in its mission to promote maritime security and prevent illegal activities employed to fund or conceal terrorists’ movements.
 
 
 
Australia assumed command the Combined Task Force 150 in December 2017.
 
Commander, Combined Task Force 150, Commodore Mal Wise, said the ship’s ongoing success was the result of close cooperation between the ship’s crew and the Australian-Canadian planning team at Combined Task Force 150.
 
“The team on land and at sea has worked well to identify and search vessels of interest in a large geographic area, dealing a series of significant blows to the drug trade which funds violent extremists,” he said.
 
Commanding Officer, HMAS Warramunga, Commander Dugald Clelland, said the ship’s seventh seizure had achieved a significant milestone for Australian maritime operations.
 
“As a result of this latest seizure, Warramunga has now taken more than $1 billion of narcotics out of circulation, meaning the funds raised from its sale are no longer available for use by terrorist organisations around the world,” he said.
 
This is Warramunga’s third deployment to the Middle East region, and is the 66th rotation of a RAN vessel in the region since 1990.
 
Operation MANITOU is the Australian Government's contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region.