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The crew of FS Nivose analyse part of their seizure (Photo courtesy of the Marine Nationale)

Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) has made four more seizures of heroin as part of its ongoing, successful campaign to combat illicit activities in the Indian Ocean, Red Sea and Arabian Gulf.

Under the direction of the Royal Navy-led Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), the crews of Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Darwin and French Ship (FS) Nivose recently made these narcotics seizures, totaling more than one metric tonne of high-grade heroin, during a focused operation undertaken throughout May 2016.

The hidden drugs were discovered when the CTF 150 ships’ boarding parties undertook thorough searches of the suspect vessels in international waters in the south-west Indian Ocean. The heroin was subsequently transferred to the warships for further analysis and disposal.

Darwin completed its 6th,7th and 8th successful drug interdictions by seizing heroin from three dhows in the southwest Indian Ocean.  The hidden drugs were discovered when Darwin’s boarding party undertook a thorough search of three suspect vessels.  The accumulated total of the three interdictions was 952 kilograms (kg) of heroin.  This is Nivose’s first interdiction of heroin in 2016.  Their search discovered 130 kg of the illicit drug.  The four interdictions brought the combined haul of heroin intercepted to 1082 kilograms.

Commodore Guy Robinson, Royal Navy, who commands CTF150 and coordinated the search, praised the efforts of HMAS Darwin, FS Nivose and the French Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) supporting his focused operation:

“This has been a highly successful operation to prevent a very significant amount of heroin from reaching the global market, including Europe.  It is also an excellent example of the impressive cooperation across CMF contributing nations, at sea, in the air and ashore.  We will continue to tackle this menace at sea whenever, and wherever, we can.  I salute the outstanding skills of HMAS Darwin and FS Nivose and their boarding parties.”

CMF is the world’s most successful maritime counter terrorism enterprise, continuing to set records in heroin and hashish seizures on the high seas, thereby denying terrorists vital funding.  Commanded from its Headquarters in Bahrain and comprising 31 contributing nations, CMF executes its vital mission through three Combined Task Forces across nearly 3.2 million square miles of ocean bordered by 21 countries.

Captain John Craig RN, the Deputy Commander of CTF for 150 added: “In addition to the successful seizure of such a large amount of drugs, operations like Shirikisho help us refine our tactical skills as we coordinate extensive air searches over enormous areas of ocean to locate traffickers in small dhows.  The opportunity to work with French and Australian ships and aircraft also improves our collective understanding of each other’s operating capabilities, to make sure that we are as prepared as we can be for the future.”

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The Boarding Team of FS Nivose in action (Photo courtesy of the Marine Nationale)
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HMAS Darwin displays part of its seizure (Photo courtesy of the Royal Australian Navy)
Operation Manitou
Personnel from HMAS Darwin prepare to destroy seized heroin after vessel boardings off the African Coast (Photo courtesy of the Royal Australian Navy)