By Commander, Combined Maritime Forces, Office of Public Affairs
| January 30, 2018
International assets from Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, part of the Combined Maritime Forces, seized 834 bags of heroin weighing 915 kilograms, Jan. 24.
While conducting patrols in support of CTF 150 in the Western Indian Ocean Jan. 23, a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) detected a suspicious dhow. Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Warramunga (FFH 152) then conducted visit, board, search, and seizure operations on the suspicious vessel and further investigations led to the boarding of the dhow Jan. 24.
“The interoperability between nations is key to the success of CTF 150 in enhancing maritime security in the region,” said Cmdre. Mal Wise, the task force commander. “We have had remarkable success in recent weeks by working with assets from several partner nations within Combined Maritime Forces. The close operation between Australia and New Zealand on this interdiction is an example of how nations working together can have a significant regional impact.”
During the searches, it was determined that the vessel was without nationality and the crew was suspected of illegal activity. CTF 150 then authorized the Anzac-class frigate HMAS Warramunga to search the suspicious vessel, in which they discovered heroin valued at over $220 million.
This is the fourth interdiction of illegal drugs by CTF 150 since last November, and brings the total amount of drugs seized to more than 11 tons of hashish and one ton of heroin, valued in excess of $700 million. The illegal drugs were then transferred to Warramunga for safe disposal at sea.
Combined Maritime Forces is a global maritime partnership of nations, aligned in common purpose to conduct maritime security operations in order to provide security in the maritime environment.