Australian frigate home after seizing over $1B worth of drugs in Middle East

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Ballarat returned to its Perth homeport on July 14, following a nine-month deployment to the Middle East.

The frigate’s 200 officers and sailors worked together with the international Combined Maritime Forces to seize nearly 20 tonnes of illicit drugs worth an estimated AUD$1.41 billion.

Ballarat’s illicit drug seizures included approximately 19.76 tonnes of hashish, 1.41 tonnes of heroin and 50 kilograms of methamphetamine and amphetamine.

“HMAS Ballarat has played a significant role in promoting safety and security in the Middle East maritime environment by directly reducing the source of funding to terrorist organisations,” defense minister Linda Reynolds said.

The warship also seized and destroyed nearly half a million rounds of small arms ammunition and 697 bags of chemical fertiliser, which had a potential use in the manufacture of improvised explosives.

Ballarat has spent the last 260 days deployed patrolling the area from the North Arabian Gulf to the Southern Indian Ocean.

The ship has integrated with two carrier strike groups and taken part in several high-end warfighting exercises with the navies of the US, UK, France and Gulf Cooperation Council states.


Photo: HMAS Ballarat returned to Fleet Base West at Garden Island, Western Australia. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

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