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April 1, 2010
By Michael Brooke
THE Armidale Class Patrol Boats (ACPBs) based at
HMAS Coonawarra and HMAS Cairns have record-
ed a number of impressive milestones in recent times
while spearheading Operation Resolute for the ADF.
As part of the ADF's contribution to the whole of
Government approach to border security, Navy finds
itself in the 'frontline' of numerous boarding and inter-
So far this year, the fleet of 14 ACPBs, operated
in a multi-crew environment by 21 crew that rotate
through Op Resolute duties, have apprehended 17
Foreign Fishing Vessels (FFVs) and Suspected Irregular
Entry Vessels (SIEVs).
The seven ACPBs assigned to Op Resolute at any
one time, working in conjunction with RAAF AP-3C
Orion aircraft and Coast Watch surveillance aircraft,
have intercepted an average of 85-90 FFVs and SIEVs
annually since 2008.
Chief Staff Officer -- Patrol Boats, CMDR Peter
Metcalf, said the Patrol Boat Group's commitment and
contribution to border protection amounted to 2055
days per year at sea.
"That means we are committed to providing at least
seven ACPBs per day to Op Resolute over the year," he
"As the operational tempo increases, we have got to
the point where we have had eight, or sometimes nine,
ACPBs involved in Op Resolute.
"So with the air surveillance provided by the
RAAF's AP-3C Orion aircraft, Coast Watch aircraft,
Australian Customs Vessels (ACV), Customs-contract-
ed vessels Triton and, occasionally, Oceanic Viking,
I think we have been successful in maintaining the
Government's expectations in the important area of
CMDR Metcalf said the ADF and the other
Government agencies had, in recent times, seen a
decline in FFVs which plunder Australia's fish stocks,
but a spike in the arrival of SIEVs.
He said the ADF's Op Resolute patrols, combined
with the Government's commitment to border protec-
tion and Government initiatives to help countries like
Indonesia find alternate employment to conducting
illegal activities in our fishing grounds, were having a
"The efforts of the ACPB crews who work hard and
long hours deserve praise, particularly the boarding
party members who often work in uncertain and haz-
ardous conditions," he said.
CMDR Metcalf said everything was being done to
equip the boarding parties with the best equipment and
training they required to do their job, including launch-
ing a new training course for Boarding Officers.
"Following the success of a trial Boarding Officer
course in November, we will conduct the next course in
March," he said.
"It is a 10-day course, to be conducted three times
per year, that all Boarding Officers coming into the
PBGRP are required to undertake."
CMDR Metcalf said the course effectively combined
all the components of the Boarding Officers adjunct
training into one comprehensive course.
Patrol boats spearhead
ALL SECURE: (above left) Sailors on board HMAS Armidale secure the tow
lines with HMAS Ararat during a collective training exercise while on patrol.
Photos: Michael Brooke
READY TO GO: (above) Armidale Class Patrol Boats HMA Ships Broome
and Pirie exercise in company off HMAS Coonawarra before embarking on an
Op Resolute patrol.
of HMAS Ararat's Assail
6 boarding party search a
Foreign Fishing Vessel dur-
ing a patrol.
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