The Royal Australian Navy’s success in stopping illegal narcotic shipments in the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) is having a ripple effect across international terrorist organisations.
When Australia took command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 on 1 December 2013, Commodore (CDRE) Daryl Bates said he would deter and actively interrupt illicit activities that fund violent extremists and international terrorist organisations.
“Terrorists derive a significant percentage of their income through illegally smuggled narcotics. Through carefully planned maritime security operations, including the interdiction of vessels suspected of transporting drugs, we are working to break the terrorist business model,” CDRE Bates said.
“Businesses need a constant source of income and terrorism is not different in this way. If we take away their funding, they will be impaired in their ability to continue operations.”
Since Australia assumed command of CTF 150, units force assigned to the Task Force have interdicted and seized in excess of 1300kg of heroin, over 5000kg of hashish and 24kg of methamphetamine.
“These results don’t happen by chance. These successes are the result of many months of operational planning, a detailed strategy, and teamwork,” CDRE Bates said.
Despite being somewhat displaced from the front line activities at sea, the significance of a drug bust is not lost on the CTF 150 headquarters staff in Bahrain.
CTF 150 Battle Watch Assistant, POCSSMW Shane Howell said that, “Although being a member of the CTF 150 Battle Watch is a far cry from being in the Boarding Party, there is an enormous amount of satisfaction knowing that you have had a role in planning and executing the mission that is impacting on international terrorist organisations.”