The multi-national Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) has reached an impressive milestone and seized in excess of eight tonnes of heroin since January 2013. This recent triumph confirms CMF as one of the most successful maritime security forces in the world.
The latest seizure was made by Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Melbourne and was the fourth drugs haul of their deployment. The Boxing Day discovery on a small vessel, known as a dhow, yielded 118 kilograms of high-grade heroin with an estimated value of US$ 82.8 million.* Once a thorough search of the dhow was completed by the ship’s boarding team the illegal narcotics were transferred to HMAS Melbourne for analysis and then destruction at sea.
HMAS Melbourne is conducting maritime security operations with CMF as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf during her deployment in the Middle East region. CTF 150 undertakes maritime security patrols in the region to combat terrorism by intercepting the illicit cargoes that help fund international terrorist activities.
Commodore William Warrender, Royal Navy, Deputy Commander Combined Maritime Forces, said: “Everyone within CMF should be proud of passing the eight tonnes milestone because it reflects a sustained team effort over the last three years. The success of CMF can be credited to the persistence of its member nations to make a positive impact on the drugs trade across the Indian Ocean. CMF is here for the long haul and it will continue to work with its international partners to tackle the threats posed by terrorist organisations.”
CMF has had increasing success in targeting the illegal drugs trade. The amount of heroin seized by CMF has increased more than tenfold since 2012, demonstrating the flourishing capabilities of the combined force. In addition to the significant heroin seizures, CMF has greatly contributed to reducing the trafficking of hashish in the Middle East region. Since 2012, the combined efforts of CMF have resulted in the seizure of approximately 30 tonnes of hashish.
CTF 150 is currently commanded by a joint Australian and Canadian staffed headquarters under the command of the Royal Australian Navy’s Commodore Jaimie Hatcher, who said: “The message here to smugglers who try to make a profit from running drugs for terrorists is simple – we will pursue you.”
CMF’s persistent presence on operations provides a constant deterrent to violent extremist organisations and CMF will continue to underpin international efforts of the global fight against terrorism and activities that support violent extremist funding.
* Note on Drug Value Calculation: The estimated value of the narcotics in this release is based on United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) calculations.