ABF Targets Port Of Portland And South

ABF’s vessel Phillip Island conducted surveillance and intelligence operations at the Port of Portland, deploying the remote operating vehicle (ROV) to screen ship hulls and void spaces to detect below-waterline concealments of illicit drugs as well as other operational activity, as part of an enduring presence in regional Victoria to protect the border.

In addition to operational activity at the Port of Portland, the Phillip Island conducted patrols along the South-West Coast to Port Fairy, and also completed a series of training exercises.

ABF Superintendent David Bonnici said that as an island nation, the ABF had a unique and complex operating environment.

“Australia’s border includes around 37,000km of coastline and more than 60 international seaports, many of which are in regional and remote regions like Portland,” Superintendent Bonnici said.

“Professional crime syndicates are always looking for new ways to beat the system and current methodologies criminal groups are using to attempt to import illicit goods into Australia include: hull attachments and parasitic devices; mother/daughter ship drops at sea; use of trusted insiders for ‘rip-on/rip-off’ deliveries; couriers on cruise ships, and concealments in cargo containers importing goods into Australia.

“ABF has a vast reach across the Victorian coastline, with our officers stationed in district offices in Portland as well as Geelong.

“We work closely with our law enforcement partners, including the Victorian Police and the Australian Federal Police, as well as port authorities and local government to help make the coastline a hostile environment for criminals.

“The community also plays an important role in regional areas, with many members of the public coming up to us this week for a chat in Portland. People know what looks out of place in their towns and any information no matter how small can make a difference at the border.”

Members of the community are encouraged to report suspicious border-related activity through Border Watch at abf.gov.au/borderwatch. By reporting suspicious activities, you help protect Australia’s border and the community. Reports can be made anonymously.

/Public Release. View in full here.