Two warships operating under Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) have worked together to seize and destroy 1951 kilograms of cannabis resin from an illegal narcotics smuggler in the Arabian Sea.
Under the command of the Australian-led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, Pakistani Naval Ship (PNS) Alamgir located a suspected drug smuggling vessel 120 nautical miles east of Masriah Island, Oman, and tracked it overnight; the next day the Australian Ship, HMAS Melbourne approached and boarded the suspected vessel. During a standard search of the vessel, Melbourne’s boarding team found 1951 kilograms of cannabis resin hidden within the vessel’s fishing hold.
In the past year, CMF units have successfully seized and destroyed approximately 12.5 tonnes of cannabis-related materials in the Northern Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea region.
Commander Brian Schlegel, Commanding Officer, HMAS Melbourne said: “The success of the drug seizure prevents the funding of international terrorism. The 62 bags contain cannabis resign bricks – almost 4000 bricks in total. Each brick is more than enough to buy an AK-47 rifle, explosives or other weapons. Therefore, removing the funding that flows from the sale of these drugs has a direct impact on a terrorist organisation’s ability to buy weapons.”
Commodore Daryl Bates, Royal Australian Navy, Commander CTF 150 said “This successful CTF150 operation, involving the assigned Pakistani and Australian frigates, proves how well the navies of the Combined Maritime Forces are working together to combat terrorism and terrorist-related activities in the Middle East and Indian Ocean regions.”
PNS Alamgir and HMAS Melbourne are deployed on patrol in the Indian Ocean under tasking to the CMF, a 30-nation maritime partnership based in Bahrain which exists to promote security, stability and prosperity across approximately 2.5 million square miles of international waters, which encompass some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.
CTF 150 is one of three task forces operating under CMF, and conducts maritime security and interdiction operations to deter terrorism and promote peace and security in the maritime regions of the Middle East and Indian Ocean.