This is the sixth seizure of heroin by the Combined Maritime Forces since January and is by far the largest ever made by the organisation.

Commodore Jeremy Blunden RN

The drugs interception is part of a multinational campaign stop drug smuggling in the Indian Ocean, profits from which are known to help fund terrorist organisations including Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Commodore Jeremy Blunden Royal Navy, commander of CTF 150, said: “This is the sixth seizure of heroin by the Combined Maritime Forces since January and is by far the largest ever made by the organisation. It represents a significant blow to the drug smuggling networks.

“We know that heroin trafficked into East Africa reaches the shores of the UK and Europe which makes the success particularly satisfying for the UK officers and sailors serving in the task force.”

“Pinpointing a how in 2.4 million square miles of ocean is a real challenge. I am extremely proud of the efforts of my team and the Australian ship Darwin in bringing this particular case to a successful conclusion.”

Hakan Demirbuken, Programme Management Officer at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said: “According to records kept by the UN, the 1,032 kilogram haul not only represents the largest ever amount of heroin seized from dhows on the high seas, but doubles the previous record which was also set by CTF 150 in 2013." 

CTF 150 heroin seizures for 2014 already amount to 2,367 kilograms, surpassing the 2,044 kilograms of heroin seized by the Task Force in 2013.

The Royal Navy led CTF 150 team in Bahrain carefully planned and coordinated the search and seizure operation with HMAS Darwin, using the Australian frigate’s high tech surveillance capabilities and boarding team to locate and search the how.

Once the dhow was boarded, the Australian Navy team worked through the night in difficult conditions to find the hidden drugs in amongst a cargo of cement. The drugs were later destroyed.

Captain Craig Powell, Royal Australian Navy, CMF Director of Operations, said the drug interception demonstrated the good results being achieved in the Middle East.

He said: “This latest interception is the largest heroin haul in the history of CMF. The success of this interdiction is testament to the highly effective interoperability of HMAS Darwin with the UK led CTF 150 under the Combined Maritime Forces, and the professionalism of Darwin’s crew.”

HMAS Darwin's Commanding Officer, Commander Terry Morrison said the seizure removed a major source of funding for terrorist and criminal networks. He added: “This is a major heroin seizure, which has removed a major source of funding from terrorist criminal networks.

“The search tested the steel of Darwin’s boarding parties who were working in difficult conditions throughout the night.”

CTF 150 conducts maritime security operations in the Indian Ocean to deter terrorism and promote peace and security. It is one of three task forces operated by the CMF, a multinational naval partnership of 30 nations based in Bahrain.