Australian and Indonesian mariners have fine-tuned their ability to communicate effectively during a recent exercise and cooperative maritime patrols.
AUSINDO CORPAT 2016 and the preceding Exercise CASSOWARY, involved vessels from both the Australian and Indonesian navies.
While both navies possess state-of-the-art communications capabilities, the challenges of differing technologies and protocols, coupled with the language barrier, presented opportunities to hone the ability to work together to combat illegal fishing and other maritime threats.
One of the two Communication and Information Systems sailors in Australian patrol boat HMAS Wollongong, Able Seaman Taylor Burgess, observed that longstanding methods can play a critical role when working with other navies at sea.
"During AUSINDO CORPAT, Wollongong worked closely with the Indonesian ships KRI Sampari and KRI Layang to target illegal fishing activities,” Able Seaman Burgess said.
"Obviously we did not want to alert target vessels to our presence, meaning that tried and true visual communications protocols including flashing lights and flags were options worth considering for ship-to-ship communication.
"Although we often use more advanced technologies, an operation of this nature demonstrated the value of the old ways."
Wollongong's senior Communicator, Leading Seaman David Sivyer, noted that state-of-the-art communications technology continues to play a critical role.
"We relied on high tech methods to coordinate with other assets working on CORPAT, including Air Force's AP-3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft," Leading Seaman Sivyer said.
"We also had to maintain communications with our operational headquarters at Maritime Border Command who were feeding us up-to-date information on suspect illegal fishing activity throughout the operation.”
"During the deployment we utilised a combination of new and old technologies, in order to provide vital linkages between the sea and air assets and the operational headquarters of Australia and Indonesia."
AUSINDO CORPAT is a coordinated patrol between Australia and Indonesia, with each country patrolling its side of the shared border between the exclusive economic zones of the two nations to target illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activity along with other maritime threats.