Australian frigate seizes heroin on deployment’s 11th drug haul

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Warramunga has seized 295 kilograms of heroin from a vessel in the Arabian Sea.

HMAS Warramunga's boarding party prepares to board a vessel during the ship's deployment to operation Manitou. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Following the detection of a suspect vessel in the Arabian Sea by Warramunga’s Seahawk Romeo helicopter, a boarding party search uncovered a number of packages containing heroin.

After being transferred to Warramunga, the narcotics were disposed of at sea, the navy said.

The narcotics are valued at about AU$88.5 million and represent Warramunga’s 11th seizure in the seven months since deploying to the region in November 2017.

Warramunga’s illicit drug interceptions now total 19.5 tons of hashish and almost two tonnes of heroin, valued at approximately $1.56 billion.

The Commanding Officer of Warramunga, Commander Dugald Clelland, RAN, said the successful boarding and interdiction has been another boost for the ship’s already high morale.

“To have a successful interdiction on this latest patrol means a lot to the crew and reinforces the importance of our mission here in the Middle East region,” Commander Clelland said.

Operation Manitou is the Australian contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region.

Combined Taskforce 150, of which Australia assumed command of in December 2017, is one of three task forces operating under Combined Maritime Forces.