Australian Coastal Defense Infringing?
In December, the Australian government announced a package of maritime security measures to be coordinated by a new Joint Offshore Protection Command headed by the current director of Customs Coastwatch, Rear Admiral Russ Crane. The package envisions an Australian maritime information zone (AMIZ) becoming effective in March. Like all other countries, Australia already has a 200 mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Because the country claims sovereignty over small islands well offshore, the EEZ covers an area greater than Australia itself. Within this area the joint command is to identify all vessels, other than pleasure craft, and gather information about crew, cargo, location, and ports of call. The new AMlZ is to extend 1,000 nautical miles offshore. As so defined, the AMIZ extends beyond several regional states, such as New Zealand and Indonesia. In addition to the zones and the surveillance requirements, the new package includes improved protection for the oil and gas facilities of the North-West Shelf off Western Australia and in the Timor Sea.