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Joint Australia-Indonesia maritime patrols in Timor Sea

Australian and Indonesian maritime security and fisheries management agencies have completed Operation GANNET, a week-long joint patrol of the Timor Sea targeting illegal fishing and the movement of illicit goods.

The Australian Border Force (ABF), through Maritime Border Command (MBC), Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (BAKAMLA) and Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) each contributed assets to the air and sea patrol. MBC is a multi-agency taskforce within the ABF.

In support of this operation, AFMA officers were embarked on board ABF Cutter (ABFC) Cape Leveque and onboard the KKP vessel KP Orca 04 as a sea-rider for the duration of the patrol.

The operation patrolled an area of the Timor Sea in the vicinity of Jabiru Shoals, Fantome Shoal and Hibernia Reef. In this area, Australian and Indonesian surface assets patrolled both sides of the shared maritime boundary.

ABFC Cape Leveque operated alongside BAKAMLA patrol vessel KN Pulau Nipah 321 and KKP patrol vessel KP Orca 04, with aerial support from an ABF Dash-8 aircraft, BAKAMLA Brittan Norman aircraft and KKP Beach King Air aircraft. Each aircraft had an air-rider from each from the other agencies.

The joint patrol was the second of two held this year under Operation GANNET, which is an amalgamation of previously separate civil maritime security activities conducted in the area.

Commander MBC, Rear Admiral (RADM) Lee Goddard, RAN CSC, said these joint operations complement the already strong collaboration between Australia and Indonesia and the four agencies involved.

“This operation demonstrates the resolve of MBC to work closely with our international partners to enhance civil maritime security cooperation in the shared maritime domain to detect, deter and respond to illegal activities. The collaboration in planning and execution has been first class,” RADM Goddard said.

“Sharing information, resources and assets in patrols such as these are to our mutual benefit. We look forward to ongoing engagement in this area.”

AFMA’s General Manager of Fisheries Operations, Peter Venslovas, said cooperation between Australian authorities and our regional partners is key to deterring and combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

“Operation GANNET enabled AFMA to strengthen relationships with our Indonesian colleagues and demonstrate our strong and collaborative partnership with ABF to deter IUU fishing in Australian and regional waters,” Mr Venslovas said.

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