Royal Australian Navy seizes illegal drug shipments in Middle East


The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) frigate HMAS Ballarat has seized more than 900 kilograms of heroin worth approximately A$279 million (US$196.74 million) during two boarding operations that took place from December 21 to 23 as part of Operation Manitou.

Ballarat conducted flag verification checks by boarding vessels of interest while under the direction of the Combined Maritime Forces’ (CMF) Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) in international waters in the Arabian Sea.

The fishing vessels, known as dhows, were believed to be engaging in illegal activity.

Ballarat’s boarding team discovered and seized illegal narcotics on both dhows. Around 165 kilograms of heroin was found on the first dhow and 766 kilograms on a second.

The drugs were transferred to Ballarat for disposal.

These are the first seizures Ballarat has made since starting operations in the Middle East Region during November 2018 in support of Operation Manitou.

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