HMAS Warramunga makes eleventh narcotics haul

This article has photo gallery Published on Department of Defence (author), LSIS Tom Gibson (photographer)

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, HMAS Warramunga (F152), Drug interdiction, Combined Maritime Forces

HMAS Warramunga's boarding party prepares to conduct a boarding on a vessel during the ship's deployment to Operation MANITOU. (photo: LSIS Tom Gibson)
HMAS Warramunga's boarding party prepares to conduct a boarding on a vessel during the ship's deployment to Operation MANITOU.

The crew of HMAS Warramunga has had another successful week in the Middle East Region, seizing and disposing of 295 kilograms of heroin, valued at about $88.5 million, while patrolling waters in the Arabian Sea.

The illicit narcotics interdiction is Warramunga’s 11th seizure in the seven months since deploying to the region in November 2017, and has further disrupted the flow of terrorist funding in the Middle East.

Warramunga’s illicit drug interceptions now total 19.5 tonnes of hashish and almost two tonnes of heroin, valued at approximately $1.56 billion. These regular seizures have helped to disrupt the nexus between criminality and terrorism.

Following the detection of a suspect vessel in the Arabian Sea by Warramunga’s Seahawk Romeo helicopter, a boarding party search uncovered a number of packages containing heroin.

The Commanding Officer of Warramunga, Commander Dugald Clelland, RAN, said the successful boarding and interdiction has been another boost for the ship’s already high morale.

“To have a successful interdiction on this latest patrol means a lot to the crew and reinforces the importance of our mission here in the Middle East region,” Commander Clelland said.

After being transferred to Warramunga, the narcotics were disposed of at sea.

Summary of vessels interdicted with drugs by Warramunga:

  1. 27–29 December 2017: approx 8 tonnes hashish and 69 kilogram heroin, (three vessels interdicted over this period),

  2. 3 January 2018: hashish, approx 3.5 tonnes,

  3. 7 January 2018: heroin, approx 111 kilograms,

  4. 24 January 2018: heroin, approx 915 kilograms,

  5. 1 February 2018: heroin, approx 414 kilograms,

  6. 3 March 2018: hashish, approx 4.1 tonnes,

  7.  4 March 2018: hashish, approx 3.9 tonnes,

  8. 6 March 2018: heroin, approx 132 kilograms,

  9. 10 May 2018: heroin, approx 295 kilograms.

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

Combined Taskforce 150, of which Australia assumed command of in December 2017, is one of three task forces operating under Combined Maritime Forces.