HMAS Arunta drug haul success

This article has photo gallery Published on Department of Defence (author), ABIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, HMAS Arunta (F151), Drug Interdiction, Deployment

Members of HMAS Arunta's boarding party seize and account for illegal narcotics found during the search of a dhow while on patrol in the Middle East Region. (photo: ABIS Steven Thomson)
Members of HMAS Arunta's boarding party seize and account for illegal narcotics found during the search of a dhow while on patrol in the Middle East Region.

Anzac class frigate HMAS Arunta has seized approximately 250 kilograms of heroin during a vessel interception off the coast of Africa as part of Operation MANITOU.

Arunta’s
 crew seized the drugs in the Indian Ocean on 10 May - her second narcotic interdiction since commencing counter-terrorism operations in December last year.

Following detection by a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft, Arunta intercepted and boarded the suspect dhow as part of Combined Task Force 150 which is currently under French command, supported by a combined French-UK staff.

Commanding Officer Commander Cameron Steil praised his crew’s professionalism and ability to conduct a meticulous search, which led to the drug seizure.

“While the smugglers continue to try new techniques for hiding narcotics, our boarding parties have shown that their experience, training, and techniques are up to the task at hand,” Commander Steil said. 

Major General John Frewen, commander of Australian forces in the region, said the successful drug interception was a joint effort.

Arunta’s second seizureas part of the Combined Maritime Forces effort, will directly contribute to the overall maritime security, stability and prosperity in the region,” Major General Frewen said.

“This is a testament to their perseverance and hard work,” he said.

Arunta is on her third deployment to the Middle East, as the 64th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy vessel in the region since 1990.

Operation MANITOU is the current name for the Australian Government's contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region. 

Under Operation MANITOU, Arunta is currently supporting the US-led Combined Maritime Force, a 31 nation partnership working within the region.