HMAS Ballarat continues illicit drug seizures in Middle East

Image: US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mel Orr
HMAS Ballarat in 2012

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) frigate HMAS Ballarat has intercepted another 2.6 tonnes of illicit drugs while conducting a patrol in international waters in the Arabian Sea.

The seizures, including approximately 2.5 tonnes of hashish and 135 kilograms of heroin, were discovered in two vessels suspected of illegal activity in two separate boardings earlier this month.

The vessels, known as dhows, were exhibiting signs of suspicious activity and were subsequently boarded and inspected by the crew of Ballarat.

The drugs were seized and transferred back to Ballarat for testing and destruction.

The two seizures bring the total number of narcotics interdictions by Ballarat to nine over the period of the ship’s current deployment.

Since its departure from Australia in October 2018, Ballarat has seized over nine tonnes of hashish and approximately 1.4 tonnes of heroin, to the total estimated value of A$900 million (US$627 million).

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