Australia has reaffirmed its strong relationship with Malaysia today at a flag transfer ceremony marking the transfer of Australian Customs and Border Protection Vessel (ACV) Arnhem Bay to its Malaysian counterpart agency.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, said he was pleased to reaffirm Australia's close regional cooperation with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and joint efforts to combat people smuggling and transnational crime on the high seas.
Officers from the MMEA and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) attended the flag transfer ceremony in Cairns this morning.
'Australia is proud to be gifting the first of two patrol boats to this key regional partner. The ship has served Australia well in mitigating and managing civil maritime security threats including illegal fishing and people smuggling and will complement Malaysia's maritime fleet,' Mr Dutton said.
ACV Arnhem Bay has completed 279,118 nautical miles in its 3,627 sea days of operational service for ACBPS.
As part of the transfer process, ACBPS Marine Unit Officers trained Malaysian personnel in day-to-day operations and ship's maintenance of a Bay Class patrol boat.
The 25-day training exercise involved an exchange of knowledge on the ship's operations, familiarisation of electronic systems and equipment on board, to undertaking operational drills.
Mr Dutton said today's event helps to deepen Australia's partnership with Malaysia and contributes to regional maritime security.
'I acknowledge the challenge faced by MMEA in policing Malaysia's maritime zones which includes over 4,900 kilometres of coastline and one of the world's busiest sea lanes – the Malacca Strait.
'I would like to thank Malaysia for its ongoing assistance in combating trans-national crime, including maritime people smuggling within regional maritime jurisdictions.'