Toowoomba interdicts thousands of kilos of narcotics

This article has photo gallery Published on Royal Australian Navy (author), LSIS Richard Cordell (photographer)

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, HMAS Toowoomba (F156), Drug interdiction

150 parcels of illicit drugs including hashish and heroin are made ready for destruction on the flight deck of HMAS Toowoomba after a successful boarding as part of Operation MANITOU on 19 March 2020. (photo: LSIS Richard Cordell)
150 parcels of illicit drugs including hashish and heroin are made ready for destruction on the flight deck of HMAS Toowoomba after a successful boarding as part of Operation MANITOU on 19 March 2020.

HMAS Toowoomba has interdicted over 3000 kilograms of illegal narcotics including hashish and heroin in the Gulf of Aden.

The Anzac Class Frigate is deployed under Operation MANITOU, Australia’s contribution to support international efforts to promote security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region.

This is the first seizure by HMAS Toowoomba since arriving in the Middle East over a month ago.

Commander Joint Task Force 633, Major General Susan Coyle, commended the personnel onboard Toowoomba.

“The smugglers’ ingenuity in hiding the sizeable amount of drugs was overcome by hard work and lateral thinking from these well-trained teams,” Major General Coyle said.

“Sailors used specialised search techniques and equipment to discover the drugs which were contained inside void spaces, and all of the narcotics were subsequently destroyed at sea.”

The seizure took place on 19 March 2020 in support of the Combined Maritime Forces, an enduring multinational taskforce of 33 nations committed to disrupting terrorist organisations and illegal activities in the maritime domain.

During her deployment, HMAS Toowoomba is also working with international partners to monitor and deter destabilising activity and support the safe passage of commercial and civilian shipping under the International Maritime Security Construct.

This is the Royal Australian Navy’s 68th deployment to the Middle East Region since 1990 and the sixth mission for HMAS Toowoomba.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library: https://images.navy.gov.au/S20201210.

The boarding party from HMAS Toowoomba boards a dhow carrying a large amount of illicit substances during a patrol in the Gulf of Aden as part of Operation MANITOU on 19 March 2020.

The boarding party from HMAS Toowoomba boards a dhow carrying a large amount of illicit substances during a patrol in the Gulf of Aden as part of Operation MANITOU on 19 March 2020.