Night boarding in the Timor Sea

Thirty-one days into its first sea posting, Navy’s newest patrol boat landed its first catch, a type three foreign fishing vessel (FFV).

CAPTION: ADV Cape Capricorn deployed to Operation Resolute in May.

Australian Defence Vessel Cape Capricorn was deployed in support of Operation Resolute, to the Kimberly Marine Park and Ashmore Island.

Approaching sunset, an Australian Border Force aircraft on the southern reef at Ashmore Island located the FFV.

Unable to get to the vessel due to the breaking surf on the outer reef, Cape Capricorn waited patiently at the edge of the visual horizon for the midnight high tide, when the vessel was likely to make its move.

In the dead of night, the FFV made its run to the north-east into open waters and, supported by Australian Border Force Cutter Cape Wessel blocking escape through the inner lagoon, Cape Capricorn closely followed with all lights extinguished.

Midshipman Logan O’Connor was on board during the patrol.

“The waiting game was the hardest part,” Midshipman O’Connor said.

“We knew the tide was coming in, but time was on their side as well, they were small enough to give us the slip.”

On board Cape Capricorn, all awaited the boarding with eagerness, the task representing the culmination of months of hard work.

Among the crew of 22 officers and sailors, eight had only recently completed category training and were embarking on their first sea posting.

In the pre-dawn hours, the boarding party made their final preparations and inserted in water unseen.

Atop a rolling swell at the crack of morning twilight, the boarding party reached and secured the vessel, quickly confirming the suspicions of an illegal catch.

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CAPTION: ADV Cape Capricorn’s boarding officer, Lieutenant Michael Loudon, issues a notice of legislative forfeiture to personnel on a foreign fishing vessel.

Executive Officer Cape Capricorn Lieutenant Michael Loudon said the young crew did a great job.

“It was an excellent job well done by all. I could not be prouder of the whole ship’s company in getting this done,” Lieutenant Loudon said.

Following acceptance into the fleet in February 2023, Cape Capricorn undertook unit and mission readiness workups in the northern Australia exercise area in early May before commencing its first Resolute patrol on May 22.


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