SYDNEY, Australia -- An Australian warship seized almost eight tonnes of hashish in the Arabian Sea, with an estimated street value at US $325 million, AFP reported December 30.
The HMAS Warramunga also confiscated 69kg of heroin during maritime security manoeuvres in the area in the three days prior the December 30 seizure.
The Australian ship is part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) naval partnership in which 32 nations patrol approximately 3.2 million square miles of international waters.
Pakistan and the United States are part of the coalition, which is headquartered at the US naval base in Bahrain.
"The crew prepared extensively for a task like this, and we were able to employ our helicopter and boarding crews to locate and board three suspect vessels," said the ship's commanding officer, Dugald Clelland.
Maj. Gen. John Frewen, head of Australian Forces in the Middle East, described the seizure as a big setback for drug traffickers.
"This operation will impact on the flow of narcotics around the world and the use of drug money to fund extremist organisations," he said.
The HMAS Warramunga enforces maritime security with a focus on terrorist activity in the Middle East and Indian Ocean regions as part of the Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, which operates under the CMF.
Pakistan in December handed over command of CTF 150 to Australia at a ceremony in Bahrain. The rotating command is scheduled to go to Canada later in 2018.