HMAS WARRAMUNGA, a Royal Australian Navy frigate, seized 111 kilograms of heroin, a street value of $26 million US dollars during operations in the Arabian Sea on 7 January 2018. This is the third successful interdiction for Warramunga in the past two weeks, taking the ship’s total seizures to more than 11.5 tonnes of hashish and 180 kilograms of heroin with a total approximate value of $492* million US dollars.
The operation was carried out under the direction of the Combined Maritime Forces’ (CMF’s) Australian-led Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), after the suspect vessel was assessed to be engaged in possible illegal activity. Commander of CTF 150, Commodore Mal Wise, RAN, said he was proud of the efforts of the sailors of CTF 150 and stated:
“The hard work and dedication of HMAS Warramunga’s company has again been demonstrated by this seizure of narcotics in the Arabian Sea. The ongoing success of CTF 150 in interrupting the flow of narcotics in the Middle East region highlights the enduring importance of a naval partnership like the CMF in promoting security in international waters.”
Commanding Officer of HMAS Warramunga, Commander Dugald Clelland said the Ship’s company was very proud of its contribution to the mission in recent weeks he said
“This seizure was the result of a complex operation involving thorough analysis of historical information, careful surveillance and hard work by the boarding party.”
After being transferred to Warramunga, the heroin was weighed, recorded then disposed of safely at sea.
Warramunga is deployed to the Middle East on Operation MANITOU, Australia’s commitment to maritime security and stability in the region, including the CMF. The CMF is a coalition of 32 nations that conducts maritime security operations to ensure the free flow of legitimate commerce in the Middle East Region and to deny the use of the high seas to terrorist and illicit non-state actors.
Media note: *This calculation is a based on the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Illicit Drug Data Report 2015–16 figures for Cannabis Resin (Hashish) at $50 AUD /$39 USD per gram (p215) and Heroin at $300,000 AUD / $235,000 USD per kilogram (p 216).