A Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) ship, the Royal Australian Navy frigate, HMAS Darwin, has achieved mission success with another heroin seizure.

HMAS Darwin’s embarked S-70B Seahawk helicopter observes a suspicious Sambuq Dhow as members of the boarding party make their approach in the rigid hull inflatable boats.


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’s two rigid hull inflatable boats stay near the suspicious vessel, while members of the boarding party team conduct a search for illegal narcotics.

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 boarding party team, embarked on the rigid hull inflatable boats, prepare to conduct a boarding of a suspicious vessel suspected of carrying illegal narcotics.

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.”

Bags of illegal narcotics discovered by HMAS Darwin’s boarding party members during boarding operations of a suspicious vessel.

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.

HMAS Darwin remains close to a suspicious vessel as members of the boarding party team embarked on the rigid hull inflatable boats make their approach of the suspicious vessel.

“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.

One of HMAS Darwin’s rigid hull inflatable boats proceeds back to the ship to pick up supplies for the boarding party team embarked on and conducting a search of a suspicious vessel.