Home' Navy News : March 31st 2011 Contents NAVY NEWS
March 31, 2011
BORDER Protection Command
(BPC) patrols Australia's
waters every day, guard-
ing against maritime security
threats. Among these is the protection of
one of Australia's environmental treas-
ures -- the Great Barrier Reef Marine
Because of the support of BPC in
patrolling the area, 26 successful prosecu-
tions were launched last year following
11 aerial surveillance detections.
Already this year BPC has detected a
threat within the marine park and referred
the case to the Great Barrier Reef Marine
Park Authority (GBRMPA), resulting in
five successful prosecutions.
BPC has been working with the
GBRMPA since the 1980s -- initially in
the capacity of Coast Watch -- lending a
hand in protecting the fragile and valu-
able marine park.
It conducts regular aerial surveillance
of the Great Barrier Reef on behalf of the
BPC Deputy Commander Demetrio
Veteri said the GBRMPA was a key focus
for operations in the Queensland region.
"BPC Cairns liaises with the
GBRMPA on a daily basis regarding sur-
veillance requirements and tasking," he
"We consider GBRMPA a
cooperative, professional and dedicated
partner in preventing marine pollution
and illegal exploitation of natural re-
BPC's aircraft surveillance program is
a primary source for surveillance, intel-
ligence and evidence-gathering activities
in the marine park, particularly in remote
offshore and northern waters.
Surveillance aircraft can also pro-
vide invaluable forward intelligence to
patrol vessels on the water through the
GBRMPA's coordination unit, allowing
for assets to be better positioned for inter-
Andrew Skeet, the general manager of
Marine Park Management, acknowledged
the critical role played by BPC's surveil-
lance aircraft in conservation efforts.
"The offence detection and evidence
collection capabilities of BPC's sur-
veillance aircraft have continued to be
of great benefit to the Authority in its
enforcement and prosecution functions,"
"The strong relationship between our
agencies and the ongoing cooperation
between our staff in surveillance, remote
vessel monitoring and the detection and
prosecution of marine park offences is
an invaluable element of management,
ensuring the protection and sustainable
use of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
and World Heritage Area."
Mr Skeet thanked staff at the BPC for
Protecting a national icon
Border Protection Command is helping guard
the Great Barrier Reef, writes Stacey Ward.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Great Barrier Reef
stretches more than
3000km along the
Queensland coast, reaching
from near the coastal town
of Bundaberg past the tip of
The reef covers an area half
the size of Texas.
It is the only living structure
visible from the moon.
Almost 3000 separate coral
reefs and more than 900
islands make up the Great
The reef's origins date back
to the last Ice Age.
It was declared a marine
park in 1975.
In 1981 it was designated a
World Heritage Area.
More than 1.6 million tour-
ists visit each year.
More than 6000 commercial
ships operate within the
area each year.
Diving, snorkelling and
fishing are the three most
popular pastimes along the
Mr Veteri said while the positive
results were a win for the organisations
and the government, more importantly
they were a win for the Australian public.
"Through our aerial and on-water sur-
veillance program we will remain vigilant
and continue to deter threats from harm-
ing one of Australia's natural wonders,"
TREASURE: Combating pollution, illegal exploitation and other threats is central to Border Protection
Photos: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
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