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Australia taking heroin off the seas

The HMAS Melbourne has returned to Australia after conducting successful anti-piracy operations."

HMAS Melbourne returned to Australian waters on February 15, 2016, boasting another successful deployment in the Arabian Gulf as part of Project MANITOU for the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). Over the five-month voyage, the 223-strong crew seized and destroyed 977 kilograms of heroine believed to have a street value of AU$390 million.

Handing over the reigns to HMAS Darwin, pressure is on the RAAF to continue its contributions to the (CMF).  In April 2014, Darwin made a record-setting seizure of over 1 tonne from a single dhow. Although Melbourne's haul doesn't quite reach these heights, Vice-Admiral David Johnston confirmed that Australian ships confiscated more than two tonnes of heroine in the Middle East over 2015. Furthermore, in July last year, a New Zealand Navy frigate seized 260 kg as part of the Combined Task Force (CTF) 150. These seizures add to the ongoing success of the CMF and showcase Australia and New Zealand's important role within the multinational alliance.

"The work we are doing [...] is impacting the ability of international terrorist organisations to fund their illegal activities."

Fighting the war on terror, not the war on drugs

HMAS Melbourne was acting as part of the CTF 150. The unit comprises of 30 nations including New Zealand, the US and the UK, who unite to patrol and protect over 5 million square kilometers of international waters described by the CMF as a "vital artery of world trade."

Commander Bill Waters of HMAS Melbourne commented on how illicit drug trade across the Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean constitutes counter-terrorism as it is thought to finance terrorist organisations in the Middle East.

"The work we are doing with our international CMF partners is making a positive and tangible difference to the security in the Middle East Region and is impacting the ability of international terrorist organisations to fund their illegal activities," said Commander Waters.

Heroin production in the Middle East

The heroine smugglers allegedly comes from Afghanistan, the world's largest opium producer and stronghold in the Golden Crescent (covering Iran and Pakistan also - one of Asia's two centres for opium production).  In November 2014, the UN released the Afghan Opium Survey which, among other things, reported an increase in opium cultivation since 2010. Although military efforts have ramped up the eradication of crops from 2012 to 2014 by 154 per cent, the rate of cultivated opium has still risen 18 per cent to a record high of over 210,000 hectares.

Interconnect Systems has a comprehensive background in aerospace and defence engineering, being an industry leader for more than 20 years. It provides electrical interconnect products and solutions, including cable and wire harness manufacture. For more information on the best backshells and cable harness solutions, contact Interconnect Systems today on 1800 812 214 FREE.

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