HMAS Toowoomba in second drugs haul
20 November 2014
Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Toowoomba has intercepted a vessel carrying approximately 388 kilograms of heroin, in international waters off the east coast of Africa.
The drug seizure on 17 November 2014 was part of a determined multi-national campaign to disrupt drug smuggling in the Indian Ocean, profits from which provide funding for terrorist organisations.
The heroin–with an estimated Australian street value of $155 million–was subsequently destroyed.
HMAS Toowoomba’s Commanding Officer, Commander Cath Hayes said the successful drug interdiction was a direct result of excellent intelligence and a well-executed search plan developed in collaboration with Australia’s international partners in the Combined Maritime Force (CMF).
“Our Pakistani colleagues at Combined Task Force 150 and the CMF worked with us to develop the plan that resulted in Toowoomba recovering the heroin,” CMDR Hayes said.
“The CMF teams ashore and on Toowoomba, provided key pieces of the puzzle that led to this intercept.”
This is the second significant drug haul for both Toowoomba and for Combined Task Force 150 since the Pakistan Navy took command of the maritime security and counter-terrorism mission on 14 August 2014.
Major General Craig Orme, Commander Joint Task Force 633, congratulated the crew of HMAS Toowoomba on the seizure.
“This interception demonstrates just how well the Toowoomba Ship’s Company and the Combined Maritime Force have collaborated to interrupt the international drug trade,” he said.
Lieutenant Neil Partridge, one of Toowoomba’s Boarding Officers, said the boarding team executed an efficient boarding and search of the suspect vessel.
“The whole team came together to achieve a fantastic result. The smugglers go to considerable lengths to conceal their cargo and it is a whole ship effort to exploit intelligence and really focus our search efforts,” he said.
On 18 September Toowoomba’s crew successfully intercepted, boarded and seized more than 5.6 tonnes of cannabis resin onboard a dhow 260km off the east coast of Africa in international waters.
Operation Manitou is the Australian Government's contribution to the international effort to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region. An enhanced security environment ensures Australia's safe and open access to the region while fostering trade and commerce.
Defence imagery is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20143553
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999