An Australian warship patrolling the Indian Ocean has seized heroin with a street value of approximately £140 million found hidden on a boat.

HMAS Darwin stopped the dhow, or wooden sailboat, off the coast of Kenya, east Africa, and crew discovered 46 sacks off the drugs, weighing 1,032 kilogrammes, hidden under bags of cement.

The seizure was made as part of a joint UK and Australian operation to combat drug smuggling in the Indian Ocean, with drugs profits used to fund terrorist organisations such as al Quaeda.

"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," said Commodore Blunden, the British Royal Navy officer in charge of the operation.

The HMAS Darwin is manned by 24 personnel, and has high-tech surveillance capabilities. "Pinpointing a dhow in 2.4 million square miles of ocean is a real challenge," he added.

HMAS Darwin captain said the seizure would put a dent in the funding of organisations. "These drugs have now been seized and are about to be destroyed," he said.

"It's well known that these drugs assist terrorist organisations through funding so that they can conduct violent acts.

"Today [HMAS] Darwin is proud to be able to remove these drugs from that funding stream."
The Australian navy ship is deployed on Operation Slipper, part of an international effort to disrupt piracy, drug smuggling and terrorism in the Middle East.

The operation approximately two million square miles, including the Indian Ocean.