Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Newcastle has seized 138kg of high purity heroin on 3 July 2015 likley bound for Tanzania, with an estimated street value of approximately $US 85 million.
Working as part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), HMAS Newcastle located a suspicious dhow off the east African coast and sent her boarding party to the dhow, before discovering the heroin hidden onboard.
This 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 organizations. Since France took command of CTF150 in early April, ships have seized 1.7 tons of heroin, valued at approximately $US 1.14 billion.
Captain René-Jean Crignola, commander of CTF150, said “This is the eighth seizure of heroin led by Combined Maritime Forces units since April and the sixth success for HMAS Newcastle which has been at the front in the fight against narcotics. In total, the seizures represent about 7 million individual doses that won’t reach the drug market and a huge amount of money that won’t be used to fund terrorist organizations. We are making a real difference in the region and we will keep on working together in the coming weeks to disrupt illicit activities”.
Deputy Commander of Combined Maritime Forces, Commodore Warrender, RN congratulated Newcastle and her crew on dealing another blow to terrorism.
“Once again CTF150 and HMAS Newcastle have struck a blow against the drug smugglers that seek to profit from illicit activities. This is another example of excellent cooperation between Headquarters staffs, Newcastle and our key law enforcement partners such as the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) who continue to provide CMF ships training, equipment and special agents when available to improve our ability to disrupt this trade, and all those that profit from it. NCIS is critical to our success” Commodore Warrender said.
“It’s immensely satisfying for the Boarding Team when we successfully find narcotics in a suspect dhow,” said HMAS Newcastle’s Boarding Officer, Lieutenant Jeremy Baumgarten.
“Seeing hundreds of kilograms of narcotics confiscated for destruction brings home just how effective Newcastle has been in its mission,” Lieutenant Baumgarten said.
HMAS Newcastle’s Commanding Officer, Commander Dominic MacNamara, spoke of his crew’s impressive contribution to CMF so far.
“The fact that we continue to be successful says much about the way the ship and supporting headquarters work together in order to achieve the results we have”.
“We have been trained extremely well, both back at home and in the Indian Ocean, and continue to display the professionalism and dedication required to maintain our position as the ‘go to’ ship within the CMF,” Commander MacNamara said.
CTF-150 is one of three naval task forces operated by CMF, which is a multinational naval partnership of 30 nations. CTF 150’s principal mission is to suppress the exploitation of the maritime environment by those who keep up links with terrorist organizations. CTF 150 is committed to building maritime counter-terrorism capability in regional navies and to promoting regional security and stability. Its vessels also assist mariners in distress and other humanitarian work as required.