"Aus working with regional partners to combat maritime crime, people smuggling" says Border Force Commander

ChennaiWritten By: Sidharth MPUpdated: Aug 05, 2022, 05:05 PM IST
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The Australian government also emphasized that change in the country's leadership had not changed its counter-human-trafficking policies. 

Australian Border Force (ABF) Commander Claire Rees from Maritime Border Command (MBC) is on a visit to India and Maldives. During the ongoing visit, the official visited the Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting (HACGAM) and had meetings with the Maldivian Coast Guard and other agencies. 

“At HACGAM, Australia engaged with all major coast guard agencies in the Asian region to reinforce longstanding relationships and cooperation on civil maritime security matters,” Commander Rees said. 

The Australian government also emphasized that the change in their country's leadership had not changed its counter-human-trafficking policies. 

It was specified that Australian authorities will intercept any maritime individual smuggling vessel, seeking to reach the country, and safely return those on board to their point of departure or country of origin, or if required, transfer them to a regional processing country.

Given the ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka and the illegal attempts to flee the country via sea, it was mentioned that Australia is working in lockstep with the island nation. Recently, the Sri Lankan Navy has tirelessly disrupted maritime people smuggling ventures while Australia has safely returned 137 people from five irregular maritime ventures, attempting to reach Australian shores.

“Australia is committed to working closely with all partners in the region to combat maritime crime, especially the scourge of people smuggling, to prevent vulnerable people from being exploited by people smugglers who have no regard for their welfare.” Commander Rees said.

We share a commitment with all of our key partners in this region to achieve our shared strategic interests, including combatting all forms of maritime crime and forging strong people-to-people links, it was added.