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Australia and Malaysia strengthen maritime cooperation

The Malaysian Coast Guard (MCG) and the Australian Border Force (ABF) have completed Exercise Redback IX; the latest in an ongoing series of cooperative maritime law enforcement training exercises with a focus on combating people smuggling and human trafficking.

As part of the exercise, ABF and MCG personnel worked through a range of challenging training scenarios covering vessel boarding and searching, maritime domain awareness techniques, search and rescue, fire fighting, and safety of life at sea preparedness.

The training exercise, which finished last week, involved the deployment of one of Australia’s largest and most capable border protection vessels — the ABF Cutter Ocean Shield and her crew.

In her previous role as an Australian Defence Vessel, Ocean Shield was involved in the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, so her deployment to Malaysia for Exercise Redback holds special significance for the two countries.

Speaking at the closing ceremony in Penang, Malaysia, the Commander of the ABF’s Maritime Border Command, Rear Admiral Peter Laver, explained the importance and value of regional cooperation between maritime law enforcement agencies.

“We live in a time where the civil maritime threat environment is challenging, complex and ever-evolving with new security issues. People smugglers, illegal fishers, drug smugglers and pirates deliberately seek to exploit any lack of cooperation or coordination across international borders,” he said.

“Training exercises like Exercise Redback help improve coordination between jurisdictions and support a seamless, transnational enforcement framework.”

MCG Vice Admiral Maritime, Dato’ Taha, said that the process of planning and executing Exercise Redback had strengthened the relationship between the MCG and ABF, which will benefit both countries into the future.

“I’m pleased to note the level of teamwork and friendship evident between Malaysian and Australian personnel at all levels.

“Strong professional connections between our people, and familiarity with one another’s approaches to combating maritime security threats will make both of our nations safer and more secure,” Vice Admiral Dato’ Taha said.

This iteration of the REDBACK series is the ninth since 2013.