By Commander, Combined Maritime Forces, Office of Public Affairs
| February 04, 2018
Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, part of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), interdicted 377 bags of heroin weighing 414 kilograms in the Indian Ocean, Feb. 1.
This is the fifth confiscation of drugs from a total of seven vessels since November by CTF 150, currently under Australian leadership, supported by a combined Australian and Canadian staff.
In an operation planned by CTF 150 headquarters, the Seahawk helicopter from Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Warramunga (FFH 152) detected a suspicious dhow. HMAS Warramunga approached to investigate and board the dhow.
The dhow was apprehended in international waters and was determined to be without nationality. Once it was suspected that the crew may be involved in illegal activity, CTF 150 was authorized to conduct a non-destructive search of the vessel. During that search, the boarding team from Warramunga located the 377 bags of heroin, valued at almost $100 million. After the search, the drugs were recorded and transferred to Warramunga for safe disposal at sea.
“The team at CTF 150 headquarters work seamlessly with our crews at sea to identify vessels of interest in a large geographical area,” said Cmdre Mal Wise, Royal Australian Navy, CTF 150 commander. “Working together, we can accomplish much more than would be possible individually. Through this series of seizures, we have dealt a significant blow to the Western Indian Ocean drug trade that funds violent extremists.”
Multinational assets in support of CTF 150 have seized over 11 tonnes of hashish and 1.5 tonnes of heroin in the last 3 months, valued in excess of $820 million USD, over 1 billion AUD. Following this interdiction, Warramunga will continue on to Exercise Cutlass Express 2018 in the Seychelles. This an annual exercise sponsored by the United States Africa Command to advance maritime security and promote regional collaboration. CTF 150, representing CMF, is participating in Cutlass Express 2018 to mentor regional and partner navies in order to build an enduring capability in maritime security throughout the waters of the Western Indian Ocean and Middle East.