Nineteen boardings, 3.1 tonnes of heroin and 36 tonnes of hashish seized and destroyed, and over $2.7 billion AUD removed from terrorist networks.
These numbers highlight the achievements of the Australian-led rotation of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) and their support to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) mission.
The Australian-Canadian rotation, deployed since November 2017, completed their successful tour and showed the strength like-minded nations have in combating the trans-national threat of global terrorism.
CDRE Mal Wise said he was proud of the achievements made by CTF 150 during the past six months.
“The success of this rotation is the result of hard work, close international partnerships and an understanding that the job we do here is about enabling our ships at sea,” he said.
“We understand the challenges and complexities of maintaining maritime security in this region and the important role CTF 150 and our partners play in ensuring the continued free flow of commerce through critical international shipping lanes.”
Along with the vigorous pace of tracking and interdicting narcotics at sea, in an effort to foster greater cooperation and increase regional capacities through partnerships, the team participated in key leadership engagements throughout the region.
From Egypt to Madagascar, team members travelled extensively to meet with regional leaders and participate in exercises with partner nations.
CTF 150 Legal Officer, LCDR Jacqueline Swinton, RAN, attended Exercise CUTLASS EXPRESS in Victoria, Seychelles and said she provided valuable mentorship on legal issues surrounding maritime security.
“Sustainable maritime security and safe seas can only be achieved when regional and likeminded countries use the full extent of international law and work together on maritime law enforcement efforts,” she said.
This is Australia’s seventh rotation at the helm of CTF 150, and the sixth time Australia and Canada have worked together.
During Operation SLIPPER and now Operation MANITOU, Australia’s support to CMF is part of a continuing contribution to international efforts of promoting maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region.
Shortly, the current CTF 150 team will return home to their families and continued service with the Australian and Canadian navies.
The departing team is reflecting on more than the satisfaction of a job well done.
They are reflecting on the relationships with coalition partners and the best practices for achieving success to pass on to next CTF 150 team.
The new CTF 150 team, from United Kingdom, France and New Zealand, will be well positioned to achieve success in deterring and denying terrorist organisations from using the high seas for smuggling while ensuring the safe passage of merchant ships in the some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.