Miscalculation behind breach of Indonesian waters by Navy

THE chief of Australian Customs has told a Senate Inquiry into why Australian vessels breached Indonesia's marine borders that he is satisfied with an internal review, although he will not release it to the public.

Customs and Border Control vessels crossed into international waters "on several occasions" in mid-January as part of Operation Sovereign Borders, prompting a government apology to its Indonesian counterparts.

Following an internal investigation, Customs found each breach was caused by an "incorrect calculation of the boundaries of Indonesian waters rather than as a deliberate action or navigational error".

Although a public joint review has been released, Customs chief executive officer Michael Pezzullo told the Senate Inquiry into the incident that they could not view the classified version.

He said it "could not only cause damage to national security and international relations, but would also prejudice the outcomes of current or future operations, and endanger the lives of our officers and others".

Mr Pezzullo said he was also aware of the Immigration Minister Scott Morrison's decision in relation to keeping information classified.

He said five recommendations from the review were being acted on, two of which suggested reviews of policies and training and two specifically regarding "potential lapses in professional conduct which contributed to the incidents".

Mr Pezzullo said to "preserve the integrity" of the investigation into these officers, he would not discuss it.


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