Combined blitz on the high seas

PERHAPS they had just waved goodbye to the Coffs Coast or were on their way here.

Either way, seafarers came in for plenty of attention from authorities in a major blitz on illegal activities in waters to our north.

Operation Vibe, which wrapped up on Saturday, resulted in 10 people charged with minor drug offences along with 100 random breath tests and the discovery of 30 marine compliance offences.

The combined resources of NSW and Queensland police, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Australian Customs and Border Protection included surveillance aircraft and giant police vessels.

“Despite strong winds and rough conditions approximately 150 commercial fishing vessels and private boats were intercepted and inspected for a range of compliance and illegal activities,” said NSW Police Marine Area Command’s Inspector Joe McNulty.

“This is the fifth and largest operation of this type conducted to date on the eastern seaboard involving multiple State and Commonwealth agencies.

“The results and the level of co-operation between all agencies in the planning and enforcement phases of this operation were pleasing.

“The NSW Police Marine Area Command will continue to target illegal and unsafe behaviour by mariners.

“Officers based along the NSW eastern seaboard will work with their interstate and federal colleagues to target those who try to circumvent the law.”

Several Customs and Border Protection breaches are now being investigated as a result of the blitz.

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