MARINE Nationale Frigate La Fayette continues to provide outstanding support to Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) and Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), by interdicting a suspicious dhow and seizing 260 Kgs of heroin on May 11, 2018. It is her third seizure of narcotics in less than a month.

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In an operation coordinated by CTF 150 headquarters, Marine Nationale Frigate La Fayette was conducting maritime security operations and working closely with a French Navy Falcon patrol aircraft.  Together they located a suspicious vessel that La Fayette interdicted with assistance from her own Panther helicopter. The ship’s Commanding Officer determined that further action was required and quickly requested permission from Commander CTF 150 to activate a boarding team. A thorough search that lasted nearly 24 hours in rough sea conditions resulted in the seizure of 260 Kgs of heroin worth an estimated 61 million USD.

La Fayette’s success builds upon that of her sister frigate Marine Nationale Jean de Vienne, where together they have confiscated over 6 tonnes of hashish and 1.2 tonnes of heroin over the last two months, valued in excess of 1.9 billion USD.

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Commander of CTF 150, Commodore Mal Wise, Royal Australian Navy, recognised that the continued success in removing illicit narcotics from the smuggling circuit is a testament to the hard work of naval units committed to CTF150 efforts ensuring the oceans are safe and used for legitimate purposes.

“The hard work, professionalism and dedication of the Officers and sailors in La Fayette is outstanding and a shining example of the French Navy’s commitment to ensure illicit narcotics do not make it to their intended destinations and are not used to fund terrorism”.

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Now nearing the end of the Australian Command, CTF 150 continues to work hard in the region to counter narcotics smuggling and in turn counter terrorism which the narcotics trade funds. The current staff is supported by partners from France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Media note:  *This calculation is based on the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Illicit Drug Data Report 2015–16 figures for Cannabis Resin (Hashish) at $39 USD per gram (p215) and Heroin at $235,000 USD per kilogram (p 216).