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Customs Trains With Other Agencies

Friday June 28, 2002

A training exercise is to be held next week to ensure key Government agencies are well prepared to respond should a vessel carrying illegal migrants arrive in New Zealand waters.

The Operation Chief, Customs Air and Marine Manager Paul Campbell, says this does NOT mean that there is any information suggesting a vessel is currently en route to New Zealand.

“ The exercise is part of sensible contingency planning for the possibility of such an event. It is part of Customs’ ongoing development of closer integration with other Government agencies.

“We regularly work with other agencies and this exercise has been scheduled now because it is the most convenient time for the majority of people involved.”

The agencies involved are Customs, Police, MAF Quarantine, Health and Defence.

The exercise begins on Tuesday and runs for three days.

About 100 staff will attend sessions covering the roles and responsibilities of all the agencies involved, and practical training in operating from naval vessels. The exercise will include training in boarding vessels at sea.

If a vessel carrying illegal migrants arrived in New Zealand’s waters, the roles of the agencies would be:

- Customs: to stop, board and direct the vessel and the people on board the vessel.

- Police: to provide safety and security for all people on board the vessel and to enforce New Zealand legislation including the new provisions relating to Transnational Organised Crime, through investigation, detection, apprehension and prosecution of offenders for criminal offences.

- Health: assessing the health status of those on board the vessel and managing any health issues.

- MAF Quarantine: Assessing the biosecurity risk and managing any biosecurity issues.

- Defence: to provide the transport and support and assistance.

Ends


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