HMAS Arunta seizes 260kg of heroin

Sound Telegraph
HMAS Arunta personnel prepare to destroy illegal narcotics seized last Thursday.
Camera IconHMAS Arunta personnel prepare to destroy illegal narcotics seized last Thursday. Credit: Royal Australian Navy - ABIS Steven Thomson

Rockingham’s HMAS Arunta has made another huge drug seizure off the coast of Africa, intercepting a vessel carrying 260kg of heroin.

HMAS Arunta, which is based at HMAS Stirling on Garden Island, intercepted the boat last Thursday after the ship’s embarked helicopter detected the suspicious vessel during a scheduled surface search.

A thorough search by navy personnel found the drugs which were contained inside void spaces.

HMAS Arunta's boarding party prepares to board a dhow smuggling heroin.
Camera IconHMAS Arunta's boarding party prepares to board a dhow smuggling heroin. Credit: Royal Australian Navy - ABIS Steven Thomson

Commander Cameron Stell, commanding officer HMAS Arunta, hailed the professionalism of his crew after they conducted the seizure in difficult weather conditions.

“Arunta’sskilled personnel worked throughout the night and in difficult conditions and have once again prevailed in disrupting narcotics smuggling activities in the Middle East region,” he said.

“This success can be fully attributed to the dedication and professionalism of the ship’s Company, who have continued to set a high standard of operational competence.

“This is what we train for and we are proud to have done the job well in support of the Combined Maritime Forces mission to counter terrorism.”

Major General John Frewen, Commander Joint Task Force 633, said the latest interception would disrupt the funding streams of terrorist organisations.

“The hard work of HMAS Aruntacombined with the personnel at multi-national Combined Task Force 150 is stemming the flow of drugs and contraband through Middle Eastern waters,” he said.

“The interception of these narcotics helps deny the financial pathway that terrorists use to fund their criminal activities in the Middle East and throughout the world.

“HMAS Aruntahas an excellent reputation within the Combined Maritime Forces as being tenacious and meticulous in their pursuit of illegal cargoes and the discovery of these concealed drugs show how well trained, equipped and motivated our personnel are.”

The drugs in question were destroyed at sea on Monday and marked Arunta’s third successful intercept on deployment to the Middle East for Operation Manitou.

Other seizures included 250kg of heroin on May 10 and 800kg of hashish on March 3.

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