CTF150 – HMAS Melbourne makes fifth drug seizure

The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) made another seizure of heroin as part of their latest string of successes in combatting illegal narcotics.

Under the direction of the Australian-led Combined Task Force 150 (CTF150), the crew of Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Melbourne recently completed a fifth successful drug seizure by seizing about 65kg of heroin from a dhow in the Indian Ocean.

HMAS Melbourne

HMAS Melbourne personnel dispose of 65kg illegal narcotics (heroin) seized from a dhow in the northern Indian Ocean.

The hidden drugs were discovered when Melbourne’s boarding party undertook a thorough search of the suspect vessel during Melbourne’s last maritime security patrol with the multinational CMF before handing over to HMAS Darwin and returning to Australia.

HMAS Melbourne

65kg of illegal narcotics (heroin) hidden inside sunflower seed packets are laid out, awaiting analysis and disposal.

 

HMAS Melbourne

HMAS Melbourne’s boarding party are seen during initial discussion with a crew member of a dhow in the northern Indian Ocean. Later investigations revealed 65kg of heroin hidden in the deck of the dhow.

The heroin was subsequently transported on board HMAS Melbourne for further analysis and disposal. Specialised equipment on board the Australian Guided Missile Frigate identified the drugs as mid-grade heroin valued at approximately $35M USD (based on Australian Crime Commission figures and revised for purity).

The latest haul brings Melbourne’s haul of heroin intercepted for this deployment to 977 kg.

Command Bill Waters, Commanding Officer, HMAS Melbourne, said that the latest intercept was a credit to the ongoing dedication of the crew.

He said: “We approached this boarding as like we did for our first boarding of the deployment. The bridge teams, Ops crews, the flight, the boarding party and the whole ship have remained focussed and our results bear witness to their abilities.”

He added: “I am very pleased with the achievements of the ship’s company over the entire deployment and thankful to all at CMF for placing us in the right place at the right time to undertake this boarding.”

Commodore Jaimie Hatcher, AM, who commands CTF150 that coordinated this support, praised the efforts of HMAS Melbourne:

“The skill of HMAS Melbourne’s crew, in particular her boarding teams, is where the ultimate success lies – it doesn’t matter if they are operating off the South East African Coast, where previous busts were, or the current focus off the Makran Coast.”

HMAS Melbourne

A total of 65kg of heroin, hidden inside sunflower seed packets, was seized and destroyed.

Melbourne is conducting maritime security operations with the CMF as part of the Australian-led CTF 150, one of several Task Forces assigned to CMF. Melbourne’s operations encompass the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf during her deployment in the Middle East Region.

CTF150 undertakes maritime security patrols in the region to counter maritime related terrorism and to intercept the trafficking of drugs and illicit cargoes that help fund international terrorist activities.

This is Melbourne’s eighth deployment to the Middle East Region and the 61st for the Royal Australian Navy since the Gulf War in 1991.

About Combined Maritime Forces

CMF is a unique multi-national naval coalition, dedicated to promoting security and prosperity across 3.2 million square miles of international waters in the Middle East. CMF’s main focus areas are defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, reducing illegal activities, and promoting a safe maritime environment.
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