Customs donates a ship to Myanmar to combat narcotics trade

Customs donates a ship to Myanmar to combat narcotics trade

ABF Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Myanmar Maritime Police Force.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) gifted a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) to the Myanmar Police Force (MPF) to assist in disrupting organised crime groups smuggling illicit narcotics on the Yangon River and delta regions.

The ABF is the operational arm of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and works closely with regional partners to enhance border management capabilities.

ABF Deputy Commissioner Operations Michael Outram formally presented the RHIB to the Chief of MPF, Police Major General Zaw Win, at a ceremony in Yangon. The ceremony was presided over by Deputy Minister Major General Aung Soe, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Australian Ambassador to Myanmar, His Excellency Mr Nicholas Coppel.

The RHIB will be used by the Myanmar Maritime Police (MMP), a division of the MPF, in operations at Yangon Port. The vessel expands MPF’s operational capacity, enhancing its ability to inspect vessels and disrupt the movement of illicit narcotics within the region.

Australia is a strong supporter of MPF’s efforts to counter narcotics smuggling in the Mekong region. In October 2015, DIBP and MPF signed an Administrative Arrangement allowing the two organisations to share information to support the detection, disruption, and prevention of illicit narcotics and precursor smuggling.

“The Australian Border Force is committed to working with our international partners to combat the narcotics trade,” Deputy Commissioner Outram said. “Providing equipment and training to our regional partners assists our regional partners and reduces the flow of drugs to Australia.”

To support the gifting, ABF officers will provide MPF with vessel search training on the Mekong River in May 2017.

The gifting ceremony is part of the Deputy Commissioner’s broader programme in Myanmar and Thailand. The visit is focused on meeting with counterpart agencies to discuss enhancing cooperation on countering narcotics smuggling in the region.

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