The Royal Australian Navy Anzac-class frigate HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155) returned to Australia, following a highly successful nine-month deployment as part of Operation MANITOU.
Ballarat’s 200 officers and sailors have worked in the Combined Maritime Forces to seize nearly 20 tonnes of illicit drugs worth an estimated value of AUD$1.41 billion. The warship also seized and destroyed nearly half a million rounds of small arms ammunition and 697 bags of chemical fertiliser, which had a potential use in the manufacture of improvised explosives.
Ballarat has spent the last 260 days deployed patrolling the area from the North Arabian Gulf to the Southern Indian Ocean. Ballarat has integrated with two carrier strike groups and taken part in several high-end warfighting exercises with the navies of the US, UK, France and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.
Ballarat’s illicit drug seizures included approximately 19.76 tonnes of hashish, 1.41 tonnes of heroin and 50 kilograms of methamphetamine and amphetamine.
This was the 67th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy vessel in the region since 1990.
Operation MANITOU is the name for the Australian Government’s contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region.