ROCKINGHAM-based warship HMAS Arunta has seized about 250kg of heroin during a vessel interception off the coast of Africa as part of Operation Manitou.
Arunta’s crew seized the drugs in the Indian Ocean last week.
A Defence Department spokesman confirmed to the Weekend Courier the seized drugs had “an approximate value of at least $72 million”.
Commanding officer Cameron Steil praised the crew’s professionalism and ability to conduct a meticulous search, which led to the drug seizure.
“While the smugglers continue to try new techniques for hiding narcotics, our boarding parties have shown that their experience, training and techniques are up to the task at hand,” Commander Steil said.
It was the ship’s second narcotic interdiction since starting counter-terrorism operations in December 2016.
Following detection by a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft, Arunta intercepted and boarded the suspect dhow.
The Anzac class frigate is Australia’s major surface vessel for Operation Manitou and is on her third deployment to the Middle East Region.
It is the 64th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy vessel in the region since 1990.