Joint operation secures north-west ports

This is a joint media release with the Australian Federal Police and the Western Australian Police

A joint law enforcement operation to disrupt and deter criminality at the waterfront has just been completed in north-west WA, including at the country’s biggest export port.

Federal and state officers conducted enhanced patrols of the Ports of Dampier and Port Hedland between 30 January and 3 February.

The high visibility operation, which was led by the Australian Border Force (ABF) in conjunction with Western Australia Police and the Australian Federal Police (AFP), sends a strong warning to people who attempt to use Australia’s ports for criminal gain.

ABF Regional Commander Western Australia Rod O’Donnell said the week-long operation highlighted the strong working relationship with the ABF’s partner agencies to target serious and organised crime at the Australian border.

“The ABF recognises the important role it plays in contributing to a waterfront environment secure against the threat of criminal infiltration and activity, and we are continually working with our partners to identify, disrupt and deter criminality at the waterfront and in the cargo supply chain,” Regional Commander O’Donnell said.

The operation overtly targeted international and domestic vessels and crew, as well as recreational fishing vessels at both Port Hedland (Australia’s biggest export port) and the Port of Dampier.

Sixty-six Maritime Security Identification Card and personal IDs were checked and recorded, 31 international crew were checked before they took shore leave and four vessels were boarded for compliance checks.

“The operation ran smoothly and it’s pleasing on this occasion everything checked out,” Regional Commander O’Donnell said. “The ABF and its partners will continue to conduct operations such as these on the waterfront to protect the Australian community from criminal activity.”

WA Police State Crime Commander Pryce Scanlan said WA Police worked closely with the ABF and other law enforcement agencies to prevent illicit contraband from reaching our community and to put offenders before the courts.

AFP Commander Chris McDevitt, Manager Crime Operations said that while criminals continue to use new methods to import illicit substances through the maritime environment, law enforcement agencies remain committed to staying one step ahead of their activities.

“The level of cooperation between Australia’s law enforcement agencies has never been higher,” Commander McDevitt said. “The AFP will continue to work with both its domestic and international law enforcement partners to ensure those looking to bring harmful drugs into the Australian community are brought to justice.”

Media contacts:

Department of Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244

Western Australia Police (08) 9222 1011

Australian Federal Police (02) 6131 6333

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