Chinese spy ship spotted off Western Australian coast says Defence Minister Peter Dutton
Posted On May 13, 2022
A Chinese surveillance vessel has been spotted close to the coastline of Western Australia, Defence Minister Peter Dutton has said.
The vessel is described as a “warship with intelligence-gathering capacity” and is “hugging the coastline”.
Dutton said the ship’s actions are an “act of aggression”.
Dutton said the warship has gone as far south as Exmouth and is now working its way north towards Darwin.
“It is obviously very strange that it has come this far south and it is hugging the coastline as it goes north, and its intention will be to collect as much electronic intelligence as it can,” he said.
“It is strange timing and without precedent.”
The vessel is now being monitored by Australian surveillance aircraft.
Dutton said it was sighted 250 nautical miles northwest of Broome and is tracking northeast at 12 knots.
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Dutton said it is believed the surveillance vessel wanted a closer look at the Harold E Holt naval communication station.
That base north of Exmouth provides radio transmission to United States and Australian submarines in the western Pacific and eastern Indian oceans.
It is the most powerful transmission station in the Southern Hemisphere.
He said the international protocol is to contact Australian authorities if surveillance warships are nearby.
“That hasn’t happened,” Dutton said.
“It is best that people are made fully aware of what is a very unusual path and course that they have taken.”