Commodore Steve Moorhouse OBE Royal Navy, Commander Combined Task Force 150 (CTF150), has visited Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Warramunga during a recent port visit to thank the Ship’s Company for their extraordinary contribution to the disruption of illicit narcotics smuggling in the Indian Ocean.

HMAS Warramunga OP Manitou Rotation 66

HMAS Warramunga arrived on station in the Middle East in November 2017.  Since that time the ANZAC class frigate and her Ship’s Company of 180 sailors have been conducting maritime security operations, including in support of CTF150.

CTF150, a part of the 32-nation Combined Maritime Forces, is responsible for disrupting the illicit activities of terrorist organizations in the Western Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. This includes preventing the illicit transportation of personnel, weapons, charcoal and narcotics.  These operations deny such organizations of the financial means necessary to conduct their terrorist activities.

In this regard, HMAS Warramunga has broken new ground in the fight against illicit narcotics smuggling, having conducted 16 successful seizures since arriving in the Middle East.  This has resulted in the seizure and disposal of approximately 31.8 tonnes of hashish and approximately 2 tonnes of heroin, valued at approximately AUD$2.17 billion.

Commodore Moorhouse, addressing the Ship’s Company, who were assembled in the Ship’s Hangar, stated that not only had their actions denied the potential proceeds of those drugs reaching terrorist groups but that “your presence has given confidence to legitimate seafarers that they may go about their business on the high seas without hindrance, ensuring the free flow of commerce that is essential to the wellbeing of all our countries”.

Reflecting on this point and on behalf of Commander CMF (Vice Admiral Stearney USN), Commodore Moorhouse thanked Rear Admiral Jaimie Hatcher, Commander Joint Task Force 633 and the Australian National Commander for the Middle East, for Australia’s continued and enduring contribution to Combined Maritime Forces.  He noted that as a coalition of the willing, CMF relied on the support of member nations to supply ships and that CMF hoped to see the Royal Australian Navy back in these waters soon.

Addressing the Ship’s Company once again, Commodore Moorhouse stated “I know that Warramunga will soon be starting her journey back to Australia and that many of you will be looking forward to seeing home again.  However, I hope that when you look back on this deployment that you will do so with a sense of pride and satisfaction about your achievements”.

Commodore Moorhouse then presented the Commanding Officer of HMAS Warramunga, Commander Dougal Clelland Royal Australian Navy, with a gift in appreciation of the work the Ship had done in supporting CMF and CTF150 in particular.