The Royal Australian Navy vessel HMAS Toowoomba has interdicted over 3 000 kilograms of illegal narcotics including hashish and heroin in the Gulf of Aden.
The Anzac Class Frigate is deployed under Operation Manitou, Australia’s contribution to support international efforts to promote security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region, the Navy said.
This is the first seizure by HMAS Toowoomba since arriving in the Middle East over a month ago.
The seizure took place on 19 March in support of the Combined Maritime Forces, an enduring multinational taskforce of 33 nations committed to disrupting terrorist organisations and illegal activities in the maritime domain. 150 parcels of drugs were found aboard a dhow.
Commander Joint Task Force 633, Major General Susan Coyle, commended the personnel onboard Toowoomba.
“The smugglers’ ingenuity in hiding the sizeable amount of drugs was overcome by hard work and lateral thinking from these well-trained teams,” she said.
“Sailors used specialised search techniques and equipment to discover the drugs which were contained inside void spaces, and all of the narcotics were subsequently destroyed at sea.”
During her deployment, HMAS Toowoomba is also working with international partners to monitor and deter destabilising activity and support the safe passage of commercial and civilian shipping under the International Maritime Security Construct.
This is the Royal Australian Navy’s 68th deployment to the Middle East Region since 1990 and the sixth mission for HMAS Toowoomba.