New vessel to target Top End threats

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A new high-speed vessel based out of Darwin will significantly boost the Australian Border Force’s capabilities to detect illicit imports, illegal fishing and unauthorised movements in northern Australia.

The 7.3-metre Port Harbour and Coastal (PHC) vessel will operate in and around Darwin, assisting in vessel boarding and searches, monitoring operations and rapid response activity.

One of 13 new PHC vessels being deployed across Australia, the Arnhem Coast, is able to manoeuvre at high speeds, significantly increasing the ABFs on-water capability in the Port of Darwin, surrounding waterways and remote areas of the Northern Territory coastline.

These vessels are capable of operating at speeds of at least 35 knots to a range of at least 150nm, and in sea conditions up to sea-state five. They can operate both day and night with capacity to carry two operators and six officers.

Local staff have undergone an intensive training program to be able operate the high-tech vessel to its full potential.

ABF Northern Region Commander Jo Crooks said the vessel builds on the ABFs already significant presence protecting Australia’s northern borders.

“We know criminal groups see our northern ports and coastline as a potential target for their operations, and this vessel will increase our officers’ capacity to detect, deter and disrupt border related crimes in the Northern Territory,” Commander Crooks said.

“The Arnhem Coast will allow ABF officers to carry out more effective patrols in even more remote parts of the NT. It will also allow more officers to quickly and safely board vessels further out to sea.”

“Northern Australia is a critical part of the Australian border and the ABF has made the region a key focus of our operations, including standing up a dedicated Northern Command.”

ABF Northern Command spans from Broome in Western Australia, across the Northern Territory to the Torres Strait and Cape York.

The PHC vessels, built in Australia by Seaforce, Nautic Star and Yamba Welding have already deployed in Adelaide, Brisbane and Fremantle as part of a $10.5 million investment in future ABF capability while supporting Australian shipbuilders.

Sourcet: Australian Border Force (02) 6264 2244