A Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) ship, the Royal Australian Navy frigate, HMAS Darwin, has achieved mission success with another heroin seizure.
The 449 kilogram haul was discovered on board a vessel in international waters, approximately 40 nautical miles off the East African coast.
HMAS Darwin’s crew located the vessel on Monday evening, during a CMF operation conducting maritime security operations in the Indian Ocean to deter terrorism and to promote peace and security in the area.
HMAS Darwin is attached to Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), one of three task forces operated by CMF, a multinational naval partnership of 30 nations based in Bahrain.
The illegal narcotics interception was part of a determined multinational campaign by maritime forces to disrupt drug smuggling in the Indian Ocean, profits from which are known to provide funding for terrorist organisations including Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
One of HMAS Darwin’s rigid hull inflatable boats transported the heroin from the boarded vessel back to the ship for further analysis and destruction.
HMAS Darwin’s Commanding Officer, Commander Terry Morrison said the seizure removed a major source of funding for terrorist and criminal networks.
“I am very proud of the hard work and determination of the ship’s company in HMAS Darwin during a particularly long and challenging interdiction,” Commander Morrison said. “Due to the hard work of many previous ships deploying to this region, we have been very successful in intercepting illegal narcotics smuggling.”
In April 2014, HMAS Darwin recorded the largest ever amount of heroin seized from a vessel on the high seas, which consisted of 1,032 kilograms of heroin.
Commodore Jeremy Blunden, Royal Navy, Commander of CTF-150 said: “This is the seventh significant seizure by the CMF this year, representing a further blow to the drug smuggling network. The interception of heroin traffic is an important part of the work of the CMF as some of the profit from the trafficking of heroin goes to extremist and terrorist organisations.
“Once again I congratulate Commander Morrison and his team in HMAS Darwin on their exceptional work.”
CTF 150 conducts maritime security operations in the Indian Ocean in order to counter terrorist acts and related illegal activities, which terrorists use to fund or conceal their movements.