A combined Australian and New Zealand operation conducted 260 km off the coast of Somalia has seized more than 5.6 tonnes of cannabis resin, worth an estimated AUD280 million (N40.8 billion).
The five day operation involved the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Toowoomba and a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion, which was called to assist in bad weather.
The Australian boarding party discovered cannabis resin in hessian bags stowed in a hidden compartment on the dhow.
HMAS Toowoomba is deployed to the Middle East Region as part of Operation MANITOU, on patrol as part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and the Pakistan-led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150.
I am proud of the tenacity and hard work displayed by the Toowoomba team to intercept and board the dhow in challenging weather conditions, before executing an extensive search of the vessel to locate the elaborately concealed drugs,” Commanding Officer, Commander Cath Hayes said.
“This is a great result for the Ship and our Pakistan Navy colleagues at Combined Task Force 150 who lead the operation,” he stated.
This is the first successful counter-narcotics interdiction operation for Combined Task Force 150 since the Pakistan Navy took command of the maritime security and counter-terrorism mission on August 14, 2014.