HMAS Darwin intercepted a suspected drug smuggling dhow in international waters on 19 May 2014, seizing 786 kilograms of hashish. HMAS Darwin is currently deployed on patrol under tasking to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) as part of the UK led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150.
Darwin’s Commanding Officer, Commander Terry Morrison, said the seizure shows the real impact that CMF is having on the illegal drug trade.
“The success of this operation demonstrates the professionalism and tenacity of Darwin’s crew,” said Commander Terry Morrison. “This was our second boarding in 24 hours to interdict drugs as part of CTF-150 operations.”
HMAS Darwin’s embarked S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter located the dhow, a type of vessel common to the Middle East and Indian Ocean, manoeuvring suspiciously. The warship closed the distance between them and the dhow before intercepting it. The boarding party went on to discover the hidden drugs contained in 37 bags each weighing between 21-22 kilograms.
Commodore Jeremy Blunden, Commander of CTF-150, commended HMAS Darwin and her crew on their continued success. He said: “This marks the seventh time that HMAS Darwin has seized drugs during her current deployment. She has made an impressive contribution to the counter narcotics effort. Once again I congratulate Commander Morrison and his team on their achievements.”
Cdre Blunden added: “The interception of illicit narcotics sends a powerful message to terrorist organisations that the trafficking of drugs using the world’s sea lines of communication will not be an easy way to fund terrorist activity.”
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.