A joint operation by British auxiliary RFA Fort Rosalie and the Australian frigate HMAS Warramunga has seen over 3.5 tonnes of illicit narcotics seized in the Arabian Sea.
The vessels, operating under the auspices of the multinational Combined Task Force 150, conducted the seizure in international waters on the night of the 2-3 January following intelligence reports that the vessel was suspected of possible illegal activities. A Sea King was also involved and is pictured above.
The boarding was conducted by sailors from the Warramunga who were guided to the target by Fort Rosalie’s Sea King helicopter which then provided surveillance cover.
Warramunga CO Commander Dugald Clelland described the conditions for the boarding as “challenging” and praised his boarding party for conducting a “first-rate job locating and seizing more than three-and-a-half tonnes of illicit narcotics.”
CTF 150 Commander, Australian Commodore Mal Wise, added his praise highlighting the teamwork demonstrated by the British and Australian crews.
“In this challenging maritime environment, the Royal Navy Rotary Wing asset from Fort Rosalie was essential to locating the suspect vessel,” Commodore Wise said.
“This operation highlights the excellent cooperation shown by nations contributing to CMF operations in the Middle East, which are making an impact on the flow of illegal narcotics that fund terrorist networks.”
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“Thanks to the skill and professionalism of Britain’s Armed Forces, working with key allies like the Australians, we are keeping our citizens safe by tackling the evil international drugs trade that funds terrorism.
I am incredibly grateful that we have the best service men and women in the world who always go the extra mile, whether they are protecting us from harm or saving precious wildlife like this family of turtles.”
The Flight Commander, Lieutenant Commander Dan Breward Royal Navy said:
“We’re delighted to have been able to contribute to CTF 150’s missions within the joint operations area. There was a massive effort from all parties involved from both Fort Rosalie and, ultimately, Warramunga.
As long as drugs and weapons continue to be trafficked to aid terrorism, we will be here with the coalition members to stop them; we have a track record that we aim to build upon.”