HMAS Ballarat seizes vessel carrying ammunition, fertiliser

Image: Bradley Darvill/South Coast Register
Image: Bradley Darvill/South Coast Register

While deployed to the Middle East Region for Operation Manitou, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) frigate HMAS Ballarat has conducted a boarding of a suspicious vessel in international waters in the Arabian Sea.

During the boarding, RAN personnel discovered and seized the vessel’s illicit cargo which included nearly half a million rounds of small arms ammunition and 697 bags of chemical fertiliser.

The fertiliser has possible dual use for the manufacture of improvised explosives, the Australian Department of Defence said in a statement following the boarding.

Ballarat‘s crew have since safely disposed of the seized items and the frigate has resumed routine tasking.

It is Ballarat‘s 38th boarding since deploying to the Middle East as part of Operation Manitou in November 2018.

Prior to this latest seizure, the frigate’s crew had confiscated illegal narcotics in excess of A$1 billion (US$700 million) during patrols in the Middle East.

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