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Minister congratulates ADF and AFMA on successful mission.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon. Peter Reith, MP Minister for Defence


12 Apr 2001 MIN 94/01




The Australian Defence Force and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) are to be congratulated for successfully apprehending a large foreign vessel suspected of illegally fishing within the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the Heard Island/McDonald Island group in the Southern Ocean on Thursday, 29 March this year.

The apprehension of the Togo-registered South Tommy, in international waters 390 kilometres south of Cape Town, involved a number of Australian agencies and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

This remarkable operation extended some 2200 nautical miles (4100 kilometres) across the Southern Ocean to the South African coast. The South Tommy was followed in "hot pursuit" by the chartered AFMA fisheries vessel, the Southern Supporter. An ADF Boarding Party flew to Cape Town and, with the cooperation of the SANDF, embarked on a South African Navy Ship to Intercept the Tommy. This culminated in the boarding of the South Tommy by the ADF boarding party about 7.45pm AEST.

The ADF and AFMA have shown diligence and professionalism in successfully apprehending this foreign fishing vessel after it breached Australian fishing regulations.

I also congratulate the Minister responsible for fisheries, Wilson Tuckey, on his persistence in ensuring the foreign fishing vessel was apprehended. The Government also appreciates the support of the South African Government and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in the operation.

This successful operation reinforces the importance of the relationship that the Chief of the Defence Force, Admiral Chris Barrie, has developed with the SANDF.

It is intended that the Southern Supporter will escort the South Tommy back to Fremantle.


The Australian Maritime Commander, Rear Admiral Geoff Smith, will hold an operations briefing for the media at Maritime Command, Level 6, 14-18 Wylde Street, Potts Point, Sydney, at 11am Friday, 13 April 2001.

Current pictures of the South Tommy are available through the Defence Media Liaison Section.


Ross Hampton (Ministerial) 0419 484 095

Tim Bloomfield (Defence) 0404 822 361






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