(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Australia has reinforced the security of its maritime borders with expanded aerial surveillance and on-water patrols. These additional capabilities further secure all of the maritime approaches to Australia’s borders.
Since the introduction of its toughest ever border protection policies in 2013, Australia has been very successful in detecting, intercepting and deterring people smuggling ventures. Thirty three people smuggling vessels have been intercepted at sea, 827 people returned to their country of departure or origin, and countless others deterred or prevented from risking their lives on an illegal boat journey to Australia.
The recent arrival in Australia of a people smuggling boat from Vietnam is a reminder of the need for ongoing vigilance and international cooperation to address the enduring threat posed by people smuggling.
All 17 people who arrived on this vessel were swiftly detained by Australian authorities and returned to Vietnam. To reinforce the security of our borders, assets from the Australian Border Force, and additional resources from the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force have been mobilised to identify and intercept any suspicious vessel that approaches Australia’s borders.
Australia’s offshore people smuggling disruption efforts, led by the Australian Federal Police, have also been strengthened.
These actions should send a strong message to people smugglers and those who would engage their services: the Australian Government’s determination to protect our borders, combat people smuggling and prevent deaths at sea, is stronger than ever. The Australian Government will not tolerate a return to past circumstances under which more than 1200 people died at sea attempting illegal journeys to Australia on unseaworthy vessels.
Australia’s border protection policy is clear, and as this reinforcement of our border protection capabilities shows, Australia will back up its words with decisive actions