HMAS Warramunga has received a hero’s welcome at the Garden Island naval base in Sydney following a nine-month deployment that saw her become the most successful coalition warship in the Middle East seizing over 33 tonnes of narcotics.
These seizures consisted of around 31.8 tonnes of hashish and two tonnes of heroin, which the Australian Government estimates had a street value of AU$2.17 billion. This has deprived terrorist and criminal organisations and significant source of cash flow used to finance their activities.
One of her largest hauls came in early January where she was directed onto a suspicious vessel in the Arabian Sea by RFA Fort Rosalie’s Sea King helicopter. Eventually finding and seizing over 3.5 tonnes of illegal narcotics on that one dhow alone.
More than a thousand friends, family and well-wishers joined the newly appointed Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mike Noonan, and Defence Minister Senator Payne to congratulate the ship’s company. HMAS Warramunga’s 190 strong crew last saw Sydney, and their families, in October of last year and spent Christmas and Australia Day on patrol.
Speaking at their return new Commanding Officer, Commander Luke Ryan, highlighted the ship’s other impressive statistics across a deployment which saw the vessel travel nearly 44 thousand nautical miles, operate with 27 coalition warships – including RFA Fort Rosalie – and conduct twelve port visits.
“Warramunga conducted 31 flag verification boardings, 19 escort taskings and 15 replenishments at sea,” he said.
“The MH-60R flew 182 sorties and spent almost 520 hours in the sky.”
“This deployment has been busy for all the men and women in Warramunga. Their commitment and dedication has made the mission a success,” Commander Ryan said.
This was HMAS Warramunga’s third deployment to the Middle East Region, the Royal Australian Navy maintains a standing frigate deployment with the coalition’s Combined Task Forces under Operation Manitou.