Anti-drug operations form bond

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Richard Morris (author and photographer)

Location(s): Victoria, Seychelles

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, HMAS Perth (F157), Drug Interdiction

Members from Seychelles National Drug Enforcement Agency enjoy a damage control display during a tour of HMAS Perth. (photo: LEUT Morris)
Members from Seychelles National Drug Enforcement Agency enjoy a damage control display during a tour of HMAS Perth.

HMAS Perth is conducting counter-terrorism operations in the Indian Ocean region, under the command of Combined Task Force 150. 

In this region, narcotics smuggling has a global impact, but one small multinational agency located in the Seychelles, the National Drug Enforcement Agency, is making a stand.
 
During Perth’s visit to the islands, two Royal Australian Navy officers, Lieutenants Tim Russell-Cook and Richard Morris, conducted a goodwill visit to the Maritime Element of the Agency. 
 
The visit included tours of facilities and seized vessels, and provided excellent insights into the complexities of narcotic trafficking across the Indian Ocean.
 
The visit also provided the officers with a new-found appreciation of the impact that the black market drugs trade has on small island communities. 
 
The Seychelles authorities have had a positive impact on regional maritime security operations in the Indian Ocean. They play a prominent role in countering maritime piracy and is now making significant progress towards law enforcement-led successes against drug traffickers. 
 
In April, the Agency seized a dhow transiting through its waters carrying 98 kilograms of heroin. 
 
Lieutenants Russell-Cook and Morris were offered a tour of the seized dhow and were impressed with local capabilities.
 
“They have achieved a lot, especially when you consider the huge island archipelago it has to patrol,” Lieutenant Russell-Cook said. 
 
To reciprocate, the officers invited agents for a tour of Anzac class frigate, HMAS Perth, which included an informal brief on the challenges of counter-narcotics operations in the Indian Ocean region.