Regional cooperation strengthens borders

Regional cooperation strengthens borders

Australia and Malaysia have strengthened their ability to work together to combat maritime crime through a cooperative law enforcement training exercise called Exercise Redback.

Exercise Redback is part of an ongoing series of cooperative maritime law enforcement training exercises designed to enhance the capabilities of both countries to combat maritime crime including people smuggling and human trafficking.

As part of Exercise Redback, the Australian Border Force Cutter Ocean Shield and her crew travelled to Malaysia where they came together with the Malaysia Coast Guard (MCG) to work through a range of challenging training scenarios covering maritime domain awareness, vessel boarding and searching, search and rescue, firefighting, and safety of life at sea preparedness.

Speaking at the closing ceremony in Penang, Malaysia, the Commander of Australia’s Maritime Border Command, Rear Admiral Peter Laver, explained the importance and value of regional cooperation between maritime law enforcement agencies.

“We live in a time when the maritime threat environment is challenging, complex and ever-evolving with new security issues. People smugglers, illegal fishers, drug smugglers and pirates deliberately seek to exploit any lack of cooperation or coordination across international borders. Training exercises like Exercise Redback help improve coordination between jurisdictions and support a seamless, transnational enforcement framework,” he said.

The Commander of Operation Sovereign Borders, Air Vice-Marshal Stephen Osborne, said strong relationships with the Malaysia Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies in our region are an important part of Australia’s multi-layered approach to combating people smuggling.

“Our cooperation with international law enforcement partners has resulted in the disruption of numerous people smuggling ventures and the arrest of hundreds of individuals involved in people smuggling activities,” he said.

“Together with our surveillance and on-water response capabilities, cooperation with our regional law enforcement partners will continue to ensure that no one who tries to reach Australia illegally by boat will succeed.

“The illegal maritime pathway to Australia is closed, and it will stay closed.”

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