Royal Australian Navy’s Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Bathurst recently took part in a multi-agency Operation Resolute patrol in the Torres Strait with Australian Border Force vessel Storm Bay and Australian Fisheries and Management Agency officers.
Focusing on the area in the North Torres Strait around Saibai Island, Bathurst in company with Storm Bay demonstrated the importance of interoperability between government agencies by conducting a combined boarding team insertion to Saibai Island to disrupt illegal fishing and incursions.
Australian Border Force and Navy vessels are regularly assigned to Resolute at the same time but it is rare for all three agencies to combine on a joint operation to enforce Australian Fisheries Law, the navy said.
Lieutenant Michael Morgan, executive officer Bathurst noted that the combined boarding operation allowed personnel from all three agencies to exchange ideas, compare equipment and familiarise themselves with different procedures.
“Combined training ensures we are constantly evolving our tactics and techniques,” Lieutenant Morgan said.
Commanding Officer Bathurst, Lieutenant Commander David Shirvington also took the opportunity to re-establish local relationships by conducting a visit to Saibai to meet with the Saibai Island Council to discuss local concerns regarding illegal fishing within the region.