Australian ship seizes drugs worth $36 million!


On 2 March, Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Arunta has seized 800 kg of hashish hidden in a consignment of coffee.

Under the authority of Canadian-led and Australian supported Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), HMAS Arunta seized the drugs in the Arabian Sea in what was the ship’s first successful intercept since starting counter terrorism operations in December 2016.


Commander Cameron Steil, Commanding Officer HMAS Arunta described the lead-up to the dhow being intercepted:


“There were numerous suspicious elements regarding this vessel and subsequently we conducted a thorough search. Narcotic smuggling is well known in this area with the smugglers always trying to find new ways to hide cargo but our boarding parties’ training, techniques and equipment are of the highest standard.”


The drugs have an estimated street value of approximately $36 million according to Australian Crime Commission figures. Commander Steil added:


“Our combined efforts under CTF-150 improve the overall maritime security, stability and prosperity in the region by denying terrorist organisations their ability to move personnel, weapons or narcotics and obstructing their capacity to raise funds.”


Commodore Haydn Edmundson, Commander of Combined Task Force 150 said, “It’s due to the tenacity of the ship’s captain and crew that illegal cargos like this seizure of hashish don’t make it to their final destination, and that they do not enable funding for terrorist organizations. We, the CTF 150 team, are very proud of Arunta and her fine crew.”


Established in 2002, CTF-150 is primarily focused on disrupting terrorist organisations and their unlawful activities by restricting freedom of manoeuvre in the maritime domain. In collaboration with regional and other partners CTF-150 promotes maritime security by denying terrorist organisations their ability to move personnel, weapons or narcotics obstructing their capacity to raise funds.


Commodore William Warrender Royal Navy, Deputy Commander Combined Maritime Forces remarked upon the nature of the day-to-day tasking that he is responsible for at CMF HQ, “HMAS Arunta resumed her patrol on completion of the boarding and continues to operate in the area working with other navies as part of the 31 nation Combined Maritime Forces to ensure the free flow of commerce and maritime security for all who use the sea legally. It is very much our desire that this success leads to more seizures of illicit cargo.”






Notes to editors:


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