Migrant Interdiction, Australian Style

File:RAN-IFR 2013 D2 116.JPGOne of the less glamorous and certainly less rewarding missions the Coast Guard does is alien migrant interdiction operations (AMIO). It seems to come in waves but it never goes away completely.

Other countries have similar operations. We’ve talked about the problems the Italians have been having.

The Australians are having similar problems but their geography works against them. Plus they are trying to address this problem with vessels that simply may not be up to the job, at least not they way they are doing it.

Their workhorse for this mission are ten Armidale Class patrol boats, based in Darwin. These vessels are longer than the Fast Response Cutters, but because of their aluminum hulls, they are actually much lighter displacement. Their range and crew size are similar. They are slightly slower at 25 knots.

The problem is that the emigrants are not trying to come directly to continental Australia, they are trying to get to Australian territory in the form of islands close to Indonesia but distant from mainland Australia, The Cocos Islands or Christmas Island.

The Cocos Islands are less than 600 miles from Indonesia but over 2,000 miles from the boats’ base in Darwin.

Christmas Island is less than 200 miles from Indonesia, but over 1500 miles from Darwin.

These relatively small patrol craft have to transit about 1,500 miles before they can even start to work. The Australian Navy has recently gotten into a bit of hot water over entering Indonesian waters as they try to enforce their immigration laws.

13 thoughts on “Migrant Interdiction, Australian Style

    • They are migrants not refugees. They stopped being refugees when they passed through other countries without declaring their refugee status.

      Refugees have the right to enter another country if their lives are in danger, they don’t have the right to keep on traveling until they get to a country where they will be given the best benifits

  1. The German Navy blog, Marine Forum reports, “AUSTRALIA, At least six ARMIDALE-class patrol boats have been forced to remain at the Darwin Naval Base amid concerns over large structural cracks found near the engine room of one of the patrol boats about three weeks ago.
    “(rmks: already in summer 2012, structural cracks had been an issue with the ARMIDALE class boats, which are not designed for the open ocean tasks they have been fulfilling in recent years)”

    • My Crystal Ball tells me the USN will order a dozen of something like these (but upgunned) to replace the Cyclones about the time Independence Class production ends to keep the Austal Bama yard open.

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