HMAS Ballarat's interception of nearly three tonnes of illicit drugs in the Arabian Sea is just one of a series of successful activities conducted by the Royal Australian Navy in the Middle East as part of Operation MANITOU.
While Operation MANITOU, as it's named, began following Operation SLIPPER in 2014, its aim of conducting maritime security operations in the Middle East has been employed by the Australian government since 1990.
Operation MANITOU is under command of Joint Task Force 633 (JTF633), which is the Australian National HQ in the Middle East Region. The RAN routinely sends a Major Fleet Unit (MFU) to the MER for assignment to Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).
HMAS Ballarat, an Anzac Class frigate, is currently on the 67th Rotation of deployment to the Middle East, that began in 1990 with the deployment of HMAS Adelaide as part of Operation DAMASK.
Operation DAMASK ran until 2001 and was succeeded by Operation SLIPPER, with HMAS Sydney's deployment to the region in 2001-02.
On her current deployment, Ballarat has seized over nine tonnes of hashish and 1.4 tonnes of heroin, with a total estimated value of $900 million.
Before Ballarat, on Middle East Region Rotation 66, sister ship Warramunga seized around 31.8 tonnes of hashish and two tonnes of heroin, with a total estimated value of $2.17 billion.