Crimes at sea
Australia's maritime boundary extends at least 200 nautical miles off the mainland coastline, the coastline of Tasmania and that of our offshore territories.
Crimes at sea can include anything that would be a crime on land, as well as offences against the:
- Fisheries Management Act 1991 (Cth)
- Customs Act 1901 (Cth)
- Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth)
- Crimes (Ships and Fixed Platforms) Act 1992 (Cth)
Our role in preventing crimes at sea
We work with state and territory governments to protect Australia's coastline and maritime region.
Under the Crimes at Sea Act 2000 (Cth), each state is responsible for waters extending 12 nautical miles from shore. We enforce the Crimes at Sea Act from beyond 12 nautical miles to 200 nautical miles, or to the outer limit of the continental shelf, whichever is the greater distance. This is Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
We detect and investigate suspected crimes within this boundary, as well as those where:
- the flag state of the vessel is Australia
- the criminal act is done by an Australian national, other than a member of the crew, on a foreign vessel
- the criminal act occurs on a foreign-flagged vessel whose next port of call is Australia.
Reporting crimes at sea
If you suspect someone of committing a crime at sea, let us know