HMAS Melbourne Scores Hat Trick in Battle against Drug-Smugglers
The Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Melbourne is on a winning streak in its battle against illicit drug-trafficking, this time in partnership with the Pakistani Naval Ship (PNS) Alamgir. Both ships are deployed on patrol in the Indian Ocean under tasking to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).
The crews of the two navies have seized and destroyed almost 2-tonnes of suspected cannabis resin- hashish, with an estimated street value of approximately $AUD 113 million.
The Pakistani ship detected a suspect dhow east of Masriah Island, Oman early on 12 February 2014. On the following day, the Australian boarding team embarked the vessel, where they found 62 bags of cannabis resign bricks – almost 4000 bricks in total, amounting to 1951 kilograms. The illicit cargo was stacked in a hidden compartment within the vessel’s fishing hold.
Australia’s Commodore Daryl Bates, the current commander of CMF’s Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, said the successful operation involving the Pakistani and Australian frigates, demonstrates how well the navies of the Combined Maritime Forces are working together to combat terrorism and terrorist-related activities in the Middle East and Indian Ocean regions.
On 7 February 2014, HMAS Melbourne conducted a drug bust during a boarding operation on a vessel suspected of transporting illicit cargo off the coast of Tanzania. During the operation the frigate’s crew seized 190 kilograms of heroin of around $AU380 million dollars of estimated street value.
Just two days before, on 5 February 2014, crew from HMAS Melbourne had intercepted a shipment of 353 kilograms of heroin during a similar boarding in the area.
In just two days, HMAS Melbourne has confiscated and destroyed over half a tonne of heroin worth a skyrocketing $AU1.086 billion.
The final drug bust confirms that the crew of the Royal Australian frigate means business when it comes to keeping a watchful eye on smuggling routes in the Indian Ocean and combating illicit activities in the area.
|HMAS MELBOURNE- SPECIFICATIONS|
|Speed||over 30 knots|
|Complement||184 + aircrew|
|Range||4,500 nautical miles|
Naval Today Staff, February 18, 2014; Image: Australian Navy