Australia and Indonesia combine forces to tackle illegal fishing

Published on LEUT Andrew Ragless (author), ABIS Kathy Tuddenham (photographer)

Location(s): Kupang, West Timor

Topic(s): HMAS Wollongong (P92), AUSINDO CORPAT

Patrol Boat Crew ARDENT Three's boarding team conducts a fisheries boarding on a vessel of interest in Northern Australian waters. (photo: LSIS Jo Dilorenzo)
Patrol Boat Crew ARDENT Three's boarding team conducts a fisheries boarding on a vessel of interest in Northern Australian waters.

Illegal fishing has been the focus of a combined Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Indonesian armed forces operation, concluding in Kupang, West Timor this week. 

The fourth annual Australian and Indonesian coordinated maritime security patrol (AUSINDO CORPAT) started in Darwin on 2 September and was undertaken in waters between the two countries from 2-16 September.

The operation included aircraft, ships and headquarters staff from both countries in two synchronised task groups. The ADF contribution included Armidale Class Patrol Boat HMAS Wollongong and an AP-3C Orion aircraft. The Indonesian armed forces provided naval vessels KRI Hiu and KRI Kakap and a CASA NC-212 aircraft.

The ships and aircraft patrolled along the Australian and Indonesian shared maritime boundaries in the vicinity of Ashmore Island, the Provisional Fisheries Surveillance Enforcement Line (PFSEL) and the Australian Indonesian Seabed Line (AISBL).

Commanding Officer of Ardent Three, Lieutenant Commander Michael Miller briefs officers from the Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Laut (TNI-AL) during CORPAT operations.

Commanding Officer of Ardent Three, Lieutenant Commander Michael Miller briefs officers from the Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Laut (TNI-AL) during CORPAT operations.

Air Commodore Ken Watson, Commander of the ADF task group, said the combined patrol provided an excellent opportunity to improve mutual understanding and cooperation between the two countries’ armed forces.

“We have built upon the success of previous coordinated patrols with a marked improvement in communication and interoperability,” AIRCDRE Watson said. 

“Throughout the patrol, both Australian and Indonesian vessels conducted a number of boardings to investigate suspected incursions by fishing vessels.

“The fact that there was a significant reduction in fishing activity within the CORPAT focal area demonstrates that deterrence of illegal activity by the task group was effectively achieved”

Personnel from both navies also had the opportunity to ‘cross deck’ with Australian sailors spending time at sea with their Indonesian counterparts and vice versa.

More images available at: http://images.navy.gov.au/S20131444