Indonesian fishing vessel apprehended near Ashmore Island

Media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Australian Border Force

The Australian Border Force’s Maritime Border Command (MBC) has apprehended an Indonesian fishing vessel east of Ashmore Island for suspected illegal fishing in Australian waters in a joint operation with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).

On 10 December 2019, an MBC aerial surveillance asset sighted the vessel inside Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with fishing gear in the water.

Royal Australian Navy vessel HMAS Childers responded to a request from MBC and apprehended the vessel inside the EEZ, approximately 331 nm west-northwest of Darwin, Northern Territory.

Commander MBC, Rear Admiral Lee Goddard, CSC, RAN said the ABF is committed to protecting Australia’s maritime resources and HMAS Childers was prompt to intercept the illegal activity.

“HMAS Childers found seven people on board the vessel along with a significant amount of fresh fish,” Rear Admiral Goddard said.

“We will continue to work closely with AFMA to disrupt the operations of illegal fishers.”

AFMA’s General Manager of Fisheries Operations, Peter Venslovas, said AFMA is now conducting an investigation into the alleged offences.

“This is the third apprehension in two months and serves as a reminder to those seeking to exploit Australia’s well-managed marine resources that Australian authorities have zero tolerance for such illegal activity,” Mr Venslovas said.

HMAS Childers is steaming the vessel to Darwin for AFMA to commence the investigation.

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