14 Apr 2006

Australia strengthens anti-refugee patrols

10:16 am on 14 April 2006

The Australian Government is to use planes based in Darwin and

submarines, warships and top-secret satellites to stop West Papuan

refugees from reaching Australia.

The Northern Territory News says the new surveillance effort will be spearheaded by Customs vessels diverted from drug interdiction operations in southern Australia and RAAF P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft.

Navy patrol boats will relieve the Customs vessels on drugs watch.

The surveillance effort is the key element of a healing strategy with Indonesia after 42 West Papuans, who arrived in Cape York in January, were granted refugee status.

The paper says the boats and planes will be supported by Darwin-based navy patrol boats and larger warships, including frigates, that will be diverted to the

West Papua border area from exercises and en route to operational