Operation MANITOU is the Australian Government’s contribution to international efforts promoting maritime security, stability, and the free flow of legitimate maritime commerce in the Middle East. Since 1990 the Royal Australian Navy has deployed 66 ships to the Middle East region as part of Operation MANITOU.
Between October 2017 and July 2018, HMAS Warramunga, the 66th ship to take part in the operation, completed a 274-day operational deployment to the Middle East. Warramunga enjoyed unprecedented success in countering narcotics operations and broader maritime security tasks.
During the deployment, Warramunga primarily operated in support of Combined Task Force 150—a multinational task force focused on counter-narcotics and maritime security operations in the Arabian Sea. The coalition task force comprises 32 nations, including the United States, France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada.
During the 217 days that Warramunga was on station, the ship recorded the largest ever cumulative total of seized illicit narcotics by a coalition unit. These seizures are critical to interrupting funding flows to regional criminal and terrorist networks.
Warramunga also participated in numerous multinational naval exercises with partner nation ships, submarines and aircraft, including those from the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Seychelles, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Mauritius. Ten days were also spent providing defensive escort to the Aircraft Carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and the America class amphibious assault ship USS America.
Warramunga returned to Fleet Base East on 8 July 2018. By the time it returned to base, Warramunga had steamed 43,996 nautical miles (81,483 kilometres), operated with 27 international warships, undertaken 12 port visits, and conducted 32 boardings resulting in the seizure and disposal of 31,851.5 kilograms of hashish and 1,936.3 kilograms of heroin valued at $2.17 billion.