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The Smack Track

The Smack Track

by Ian McPhedran


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From battling pirates to tracking down gun runners, drug smugglers and terrorists; the high energy exploits and explosive adventures of the Australian Navy in the Arabian Gulf.

From Ian McPhedran, best-selling author of The Amazing SAS, Soldiers Without Borders and Too Bold to Die, comes the untold and largely unknown story of how the Royal Australian Navy battles pirates, gun runners and drug smugglers in the seas of the Arabian Gulf and the Horn of Africa along the infamous route known as the 'smack track'.

For more than twenty years, Australian sailors have been risking their lives, conducting often fraught and dangerous operations in war and in the battle against terrorism. From braving rough seas to boarding rickety dhows or clambering up the sheer steel sides of modern day supertankers looking for contraband, The Smack Track tells a thrilling, eye-witness story of grit, courage, ingenuity and sacrifice.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781460752920
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/12/2018
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Ian McPhedran is the award-winning bestselling author of six books. Until 2016, he was the national defence writer for News Corp Australia and during his extensive career as a journalist he covered conflicts in Burma, Somalia, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq. In 1993, he won a United Nations Association peace media award and in 1999 the Walkley award for best news report for his expose of the navy's Collins class submarine fiasco. McPhedran is the author of several bestselling books including The Amazing SAS and Too Bold to Die. His most recent book is The Smack Track (2017). He lives in Balmain with his journalist wife Verona Burgess.

Table of Contents

Glossary ix

Preface 1

Prologue 3

The mission

1 Leaving Dar es Salaam 9

2 Cauldron of conflict 23

3 At the captain's table 35

4 A close call 49

5 Boardos 62


6 Skulls and crossbones 73

7 Under the not-so-Jolly Roger 86

Hash highway to smack track

8 Seizing hash and saving lives 97

9 Not just coffee 106

10 The River Phoenix 114

11 Eye on the prize 126

Making it work

12 Tonnes of guns 143

13 Dunnies, drains and dinners 156

14 Beating the blues 171

15 Birdies 184

The smack track

16 Truckies of the ocean 199

17 Jackpot 211

18 More smack on the track 227

The end game

19 Catch and release 243

20 Chasing the Golden Crescent 258

21 Bringing them home 274

Acknowledgements 287

Appendix: RAN Middle East deployments 1990-2017 289

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