Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.

5th drug seizure made by RAN frigate

hmas warramunga op manitou rotation
Royal Australian Navy sailors Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics Supply Chain Neil Gough (left) and Petty Officer Marine Technician Chris Leibick label and count parcels of seized narcotics in the Middle East. Image via Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.

Another 414 kilograms of heroin, valued at over $124 million, has been seized during a Royal Australian Navy operation in the western Indian Ocean.

Another 414 kilograms of heroin, valued at over $124 million, has been seized during a Royal Australian Navy operation in the western Indian Ocean.

RAN frigate HMAS Warramunga made the seizure, bringing the frigate's seizure total to 11.5 tonnes of hashish and 1.5 tonnes of heroin since deploying to the Middle East in November. The value of the seizures now equates to over $1 billion*.


For its latest seizure, the ship’s Seahawk helicopter crew detected the smuggling vessel while conducting surveillance late on 1 February 2018, in an operation planned by the Australian-led Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150). The subsequent boarding by Warramunga’s crew located the narcotics.

The Commanding Officer of HMAS Warramunga, Commander Dugald Clelland, said the ship’s seventh seizure had achieved a significant milestone for Australian maritime operations.

"As a result of this latest seizure, Warramunga has now taken more than $1 billion of narcotics out of circulation, meaning the funds raised from this sale are no longer available for use by terrorist organisations around the world," he said.

The Commander of CTF 150, Commodore Mal Wise, said the ship’s ongoing success was the result of close co-operation between the ship’s crew and the Australian-Canadian planning team at CTF 150.

"The team on land and at sea has worked well to identify and search vessels of interest in a large geographic area, dealing a series of significant blows to the drug trade that funds violent extremists," he said.


The narcotics were transferred to Warramunga and disposed at sea.

This is Warramunga’s third deployment to the Middle East region, and is the 66th rotation of a RAN vessel in the region since 1990.

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

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

Summary of vessels interdicted with drugs by Warramunga in the 66th rotation:
• 27-29 December 2017: hashish, 8 tonnes; heroin, 69 kilograms (three vessels interdicted over this period)
• 3 January 2018: hashish, 3.5 tonnes
• 7 January 2018: heroin, 111 kilograms
• 24 January 2018: heroin, 915 kilograms
• 1 February 2018: heroin, 414 kilograms

*Note: This calculation is a based on the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Illicit Drug Data Report 2015-16 figures for cannabis resin (hashish) @ AUD$50 per gram (p215) and heroin @ AUD$300,000 per kilogram (p216).

5th drug seizure made by RAN frigate
lawyersweekly logo

The inaugural Defence Connect AIC Summit will place you with key decision-makers and stakeholders within the defence industry to discuss the government’s intention to improve AIC and increase the nation’s sovereign production, defence capability and resilience. Don’t miss your chance to be part of this event, register for free today to attend the live stream on 22 October. Register your interest to attend, visit: www.defenceconnect.com.au/aic-summit

more from defence connect

Sep 20 2021
Indigenous company to build new facilities at RAAF Base Darwin
A leading Indigenous construction company has been contracted to deliver a $7 million explosive ordnance storage facility at RAAF ...
Sep 20 2021
archTIS acquires Cipherpoint’s European software division
Australian cyber security company archTIS has acquired the European operations of Cipherpoint’s software division, the company c...
Sep 20 2021
Skyborne delivers CHAOS 12GA UAS to UK Defence and Security Accelerator
Skyborne Technologies has delivered its CHAOS 12GA weapon payload system to the UK’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA). ...