Record Heroin Seizure Raises Serious Security Questions

Yesterday, the Australian authorities announced that they had seized heroine worth USD314 million just twenty-one nautical miles off the Kenyan Coast.

It means that the biggest record seizure of hard drugs in Africa was well within Kenyan territory. An Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is an internationally recognized offshore zone that extends up to two hundred (200) miles from the baseline within which states enjoys coastal rights in relation to natural resources and related jurisdictional rights.

The announcement for the seizure was made without any reference to Kenya. It means a foreign military that was policing Kenyan territory made a surprise arrest that has far reaching impact on global drugs trade.

This development also makes a damning indictment on Kenya’s coast guard capabilities. Not only the Kenyan Navy with its radars and newly acquired warships expected to keep watch, the marine administration police with it’s newly acquired speedboats and helicopters are expected to ensure no such activity happens within our waters.

Was the Australian Navy violating our territory? From 20 nautical miles, the contraband and arrested individuals were taken thousands of miles to Australia without our knowledge.

How many more vessels have gone through undetected? Are Kenyans aware of the fact that their country is a major transit point and also a consumer of hard drugs? Who are their local agents?

For a country that just suffered the Westgate tragedy, a country presently besieged by terrorists setting off IEDs indiscriminately, weekly bank robberies, daily carjackings, large scale wildlife poaching, and now the biggest at sea heroin seizure in the world, it certainly does bring a lot of worry.

Is Kenya’s security apparatus asleep? Are Kenyans safe?

By Cont-ED Posted in kenya

6 comments on “Record Heroin Seizure Raises Serious Security Questions

  1. Having read the little tid-bits of information regarding this saga, I must say that the clinical efficiency of the Australian Navy is what is probably causing Kenyan security the most grief

    According to the reports, the Australian Navy intercepted the vessel in international water patroled by some joint force,

    boarded the vessel, detected the drugs, confiscated the drugs, destroyed the drugs, and then let the vessel through – incredibly no arrests, no shipping of cargo to third party bearers such as Kenya etc

    All within a matter of hours, So there is no finger pointing, no wringing of hands waiting for direction from some big man somewhere. and mostly no leaking of drugs through porous and corrupt security channels.

    It is this clinical efficiency in a security operation, executed super fast and flawlessly that is shaming our security personnel.

    If for instance this had been seized by our forces, looking at our history, first we would have a number theory on how much was seized and the number would vary from 1g to 5 tonnes. Leaving sufficient room for local distribution. next there would be all sorts of storage and handling issues, ranging from warehouses and other “where? houses”. Meanwhile, investigations, committal documents, hearings or more precisely postponements of court dates, disappearing clients, files, state officers etc.

    All these events would take place over a period not less than two years but could easily go on till vision 2030 is not achieved

    Eventually Kenyans would move on, the so called haul would vanish into thin air, a few bodies will turn up in rivers and forests, a new breed of billionaires from unknown sources and voila a clean slate waiting for the next big thing



    The Australian High Commission wishes to inform the media of the following information relating to the recent seizure by Australian ship HMAS Darwin of 1,032 kilograms of heroin from a dhow on the high seas east of Kenya on 23/24 April 2014:

    • The seizure took place in international waters.
    • No Australian asset entered Kenya’s territorial waters.
    • Australia currently has no information that links this incident to Kenya.
    • The reference to Kenya in the Australian media release was to provide background geographical information only.
    • The dhow was deemed stateless.
    • HMAS Darwin is currently deployed on patrol under tasking to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and the UK led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150.
    • The Australian High Commission had no involvement in the operation. This operation was undertaken by the crew of HMAS Darwin, but it was an international operation under the command of the CMF and CTF150.
    • The seizure highlights areas of improved cooperation with Kenya, both through the CMF under which Australia operates and directly with Kenyan authorities.

    The CMF will continue to engage with Kenyan authorities about CMF operations. We recommend you contact the CMF for further information. The CMF may be contacted through:

    Lieutenant Commander Sally Armstrong Royal Navy

    Kenya is a valued partner of Australia in responding to global security challenges, including maritime security challenges. Kenya and Australia are both members of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), which aims to increase maritime cooperation among the littoral states of the Indian Ocean region. Kenya and Australia are also members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) which seeks to expand mutually beneficial cooperation in the areas of maritime safety and security, trade and investment facilitation, fisheries management, disaster risk management, academic science and technology cooperation, and tourism and cultural exchanges.

    Australia will continue to engage with Kenya on maritime security, a commitment reflected by recent visits (in January and March 2014) of then Australian Commander CTF150 Commodore Bates and the upcoming port visit by HMAS Darwin.

    The contact officer at the Australian High Commission for enquiries is Simon Anderson (, +254 708 588 598)


  3. Kenya is known to be a drug heaven. Its a place where Nigerians and other drug peddling characters walk the streets without fear. These funny characters live a life of luxury in Nairobi and Mombasa but a close look shows that they are actually jobless. They don’t have businesses nor are they employed anywhere but have some of the most expensive cars. Young Kenyan ladies are currently being used by these characters to ferry drugs.

    Having said that, Australia had to act because they probably knew that as soon as the drugs hit land, they would simply disappear into thin air. Infact the security forces have previously been accused of protecting drugs lords. We all know that the Artur brothers were brought in Kenya to specifically find market for huge amount of drugs that has been ceased by police.

    Parliamentarians have been caught keeping huge drug consignments in warehouses. We know that nothing has happened to them nor does anyone know the where the drugs went.

    The current government has no moral authority to tell people not to commit crime as its top leaders are on trial for some the worst crimes in history.

    These drugs might as well belong to some well connected characters in the Kenyan government.


    • Mzee, just in, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs ministry summons Australian Ambassador to Kenya to explain Heroin seizure in Kenyan territory.


      • Phil,
        How silly. Kenya should profusely thank the Australian government and not summon them to question the reason for the seizure. Its as if Australia has done something wrong by seizing the drugs. Perhaps some local agents stand to lose billions by this seizure.


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