Australian Defence Minister David Johnston has congratulated the crew of HMAS Darwin on the seizure of 449 kg of heroin, valued at $132-million, from a smuggling dhow off the coast of Somalia.
HMAS Darwin is on patrol in the Indian Ocean as part of Operation SLIPPER with the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and the UK led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150.
“Our naval personnel are operating with a multinational naval partnership in a campaign to defeat terrorism, prevent piracy, reduce illegal trafficking of people and drugs, and promote the maritime environment as a safe place for mariners with legitimate business,” Senator Johnston said.
“It is arduous and difficult work and I have been advised the ship’s company performed an outstanding and professional job and they should be extremely proud of their efforts.”
Senator Johnston said the seizure, which occurred 40 nautical miles off the east coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean, was the seventh significant seizure this year.
The ministry adds that HMAS Darwin has a highly trained company of 232 and they have been on patrol in this region since February. Other drug seizures include intercepting and seizing over 1 tonne of heroin with an estimated street value of $289 million.
Senator Johnston said the interception of heroin trafficking was an extremely important part of the Combined Task Force as it was often the case that the profits from drug trafficking is fed into extremist and terrorist organisations.