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RAAF steps up fisheries surveillance

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THURSDAY, MARCH 11. 1976 NO. 57/76


The RAAF has started flying night patrols of the Gulf of Carpentaria in the search fqr foreign prawn boats operating illegally within 12 miles 'of the Australian coast.

' Announcing this today, the Minister for Defence, Mr D.J. Killen, said Neptune maritime reconnaissance aircraft from Townsville, using surveillance radar, are sweeping thousands of square miles of the Gulf on each patrol.

Following radar contact, the Iveptunes descend to . 500 ft and illuminate the ship by searchlight. The searchlight in the Neptune has a strength of 70 million candlepower.

Positions of foreign boats inside the 12-mile limit are passed to the Navy for further investigation by patrol craft.

The night patrols are in addition to daylight patrols of the Gulf by the RAAF. _ I

RAAF Neptune and Orion aircraft are also operating

from Darwin in Operation Trochus 0 76 - the surveillance of foreign vessels fishing off the north-west coast. Tracker

aircraft of the Navy, operating from Broome, WA, will further

boost aerial surveillance when they begin operating later this month.

The Orions and Neptunes are carrying out 10-hour

patrols from Darwin, covering up to 250,000 square miles of

ocean on each sortie. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Enquiries: office hours 65 2999 after hours 47 5837