Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Warramunga, currently deployed as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, seized an estimated 7.8 tonnes of narcotics during a series of boardings that started on December 28, 2017 in the Gulf. Working as part of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), HMAS Warramunga conducted detailed searches of the suspect vessels, discovering more than 390 x 20kg bags of narcotics.
The great work being conducted by HMAS Warramunga is the operational outcome of the persistent efforts of CMF. CMF works closely with partners such as the Maritime Shipping Industry, the European Union Naval Force and the UK Maritime Trade Organization to provide the security and stability that allows the free flow of commerce through the world’s most important trade routes to the global economy.
Commodore Mal Wise Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Commander CTF 150, from CMF HQ in Bahrain said: “Australia has a long standing commitment to the CMF in the Middle East region; HMAS Warramunga is the latest RAN vessel committed to this fight against terrorist operations. For decades, the men and women of the RAN have regularly seized drugs and other illegal cargoes from the high seas. CTF 150 and HMAS Warramunga’s efforts reflect the commitment of all CMF nations to assuring the free flow of trade in the region and enhancing maritime security.”
This successful seizure by HMAS Warramunga follows the proud tradition of previous RAN ships working with CMF, which in total have seized more than 4,800kgs of narcotics since 2012. In 2017, CMF ships have seized a total of 11.37 tonnes of narcotics. Boarding, search and seizure operations at sea require a persistent and methodical approach by CMF sailors and marines. It is challenging and painstaking work requiring the detailed investigation of every compartment and space throughout a suspect vessel.
HMAS Warramunga is no stranger to working with CMF, first deploying with CMF operations over a decade ago. This tour, HMAS Warramunga and her 190 sailors departed Fleet Base East at Garden Island, Sydney for CMF on 9 October 2017. HMAS Warramunga’s Commanding Officer, Commander Dugald Clelland, RAN, said the ship’s company are highly trained and motivated to carry out the ongoing mission. He stated “The men and women who serve in HMAS Warramunga have worked very hard preparing the ship for this long deployment. This will be the ship’s third deployment to the Middle East and we carry forward a considerable legacy. For 27 years, Australian warships have made significant contributions to peace and security in the region and we are deeply committed to continuing this legacy and honouring the service of those who have come before us. We sail with the knowledge that our friends and families will support us the entire way as we work to make the world safer and more stable.”