Australia and Malaysia cooperation combats maritime crime through Operation REDBACK

A joint Australia-Malaysia operation to target maritime crime in Malaysian territorial waters in the Strait of Malacca has concluded in Langkawi.

The fifteenth iteration of the Malaysia Coast Guard (MCG) led maritime law enforcement activity, Operation REDBACK, commenced on the 22nd June and covered a period of eight days with a primary focus on countering people smuggling in the region.

Director General Malaysia Coast Guard, Admiral Maritime Dato’ Mohd Zubil bin Mat Som said this year’s Operation was particularly important to both countries in understanding how to tackle new and emerging maritime threats presented by COVID-19.

“COVID-19 has the potential to change the people smuggling environment, and as partners in the region, it is integral for Malaysia and Australia to work together to combat potential threats in the maritime domain,” Admiral Mohd Zubil said.

Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram APM said Operation Redback, allowed both agencies to share information, operational skills, and build inter-operability.

“This year’s Operation has been particularly important for the ABF and MCG to work together to understand the risks to maritime security presented by the challenges of COVID-19 now and down the track,” Commissioner Outram said.

“REDBACK operations continue to make us better prepared to effectively deal with the broad range of maritime security challenges we face independently and together as partners.”

Commander Joint Agency Task Force Operation Sovereign Borders, Rear Admiral Mark Hill CSC, RAN said Operation REDBACK has provided an opportunity to share skills and provide insights into how each nation manages the threat of people smuggling.

“The joint operation showcased the MCG’s and ABF’s ability to deliver strategic communications as a deterrent to maritime people smuggling ventures, underscored by the Australian Government’s successful Zero Chance strategic messaging campaign delivered through Operation Sovereign Borders,” Rear Admiral Hill said.

“Australia values and appreciates Malaysia’s ongoing contribution to regional efforts to combat maritime crime and we look forward to working with Malaysian authorities on future REDBACK activities.”