The Royal Australian Navy HMAS Newcastle frigate has managed to carry out another successful haul, its sixth in the last eight weeks, seizing 139kg of heroin off Africa’s east coast. The drugs have an estimated street value of approximately AUD 41 million (USD 30.4 million).

HMAS Newcastle frigate

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jon Dasbach Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Along the lines of the 30-nation Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), with this latest haul Australia’s Navy has brought its total seizures regarding the Middle East region to a total of AUD 2.3 billion (USD 1.7 billion) in street value since February of last year.

When Newcastle performed a routine verification boarding procedure on July 3rd on a dhow due to two rigid hull boats its crew discovered the narcotics aboard the vessel. After weighing and recording the drugs, they were thrown out in the ocean.

For this year, HMAS Newcastle accounts for seizing 1.4 tons of heroin with a total street value of more than AUD 413 million (USD 306.7 million). Another navy frigate, the HMAS Melbourne, however, is still leading the pack when it comes to the value record, as it has intercepted and destroyed drugs estimated to have a value of more than AUD 1.1 billion (USD 820 million).

According to Vice Admiral Johnson the recent seizure is going to heavily impact the funding of various terrorist organizations, as a large share of these drug profits end up serving their agendas.

Commander Dominic MacNamara, Commanding Officer of HMAS Newcastle, commented the impressive contribution of his crew to CMF.

“The fact that we manage to still be successful at what we do serves as an example of how the ship and supporting HQ co-op perfectly for achieving the end results,” said Commander MacNamara.

Out of a total four Adelaide Class Guided Missile Frigates (FFG), the Newcastle vessel is the youngest. At the time it was carrying out its patrol duties with the Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), as it is one of three details that are under the operation of the CMF.

Australia’s contribution towards the CMF is manifested through operation Manitou, which is responsible for providing maritime security over 2.5 million square miles of the Middle East’s waters. The CMF carries out operations in some of the busiest shipping lanes in the whole world and aims to combat terrorism and prevent piracy.