The Royal Australian Navy Anzac-class frigate HMAS Toowoomba (FFH 156) has interdicted over 3000 kilograms of illegal narcotics including hashish and heroin in the Gulf of Aden.
The frigate is deployed under Operation MANITOU, Australia’s contribution to support international efforts to promote security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region. This is the first seizure by HMAS Toowoomba since arriving in the Middle East over a month ago.
Commander Joint Task Force 633, Major General Susan Coyle, commended the personnel onboard Toowoomba.
“The smugglers’ ingenuity in hiding the sizeable amount of drugs was overcome by hard work and lateral thinking from these well-trained teams,” Major General Coyle said. “Sailors used specialised search techniques and equipment to discover the drugs which were contained inside void spaces, and all of the narcotics were subsequently destroyed at sea.”
The seizure took place on March 19 in support of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), an enduring multinational taskforce of 33 nations committed to disrupting terrorist organizations and illegal activities in the maritime domain.
During her deployment, HMAS Toowoomba is also working with international partners to monitor and deter destabilizing activity and support the safe passage of commercial and civilian shipping under the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC).
This is RAN’s 68th deployment to the Middle East Region since 1990 and the sixth mission for HMAS Toowoomba.
On Jan. 13, HMAS Toowoomba departed from her home port of Fleet Base West in Rockingham, Western Australia for the six-month Middle East deployment. The vessel arrived in Bahrain and commenced operations under Operation MANITOU on Jan. 31.
The current Operation MANITOU deployment is the RAN’s 68th deployment to the Middle East Region since 1990 and the sixth mission for HMAS Toowoomba. Toowoomba is scheduled to return to her homeport of Fleet Base West in Australia in July.
The Anzac-class frigate HMAS Toowoomba (FFH 156) is the seventh vessel of her class. She was laid down in 2002 by Tenix Defence Systems and commissioned in 2005.