AUSTRALIAN Border Force patrol boat Cape St George has apprehended a criminal from New South Wales who was apparently seeking to flee Australia aboard a yacht.

Northern Territory Police requested help locating the yacht One Too Many, with a Maritime Border Command Dash-8 surveillance aircraft spotting the 7.2 metre vessel on Tuesday last week about 110 nautical miles north-north-east of Darwin.

The Cape St George was then tasked to intercept, board and detain the yacht as well as the sole crewmember, a 52-year-old man from Nambucca Heads.

The vessel was moving slowly north, towards the edge of Australian Territorial Waters, effectively towards Asia.

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As well as being wanted in Darwin for questioning over the yacht, the man had an outstanding NSW revocation of parole warrant for domestic related assault offences, fraud and breach of an order.

The crew of the Cape St George found and intercepted the yacht around 6am (CST) on Thursday, 12 December.

The yacht had been at sea for about a week and the man had run out of food.

The Cape St George, with the yacht under tow, then sailed for Melville Island where the man was handed over to Police.

The man was originally reported to NT Police after agreeing to buy a small yacht from a Darwin local.

The man was provided the vessel prior to payment being made and then stopped answering calls from the vessel owner who reported the matter to police.

NT Police Sergeant Andrew Hocking said “significant support” had been provided to the NT Police.

Commander of MBC, Rear Admiral Lee Goddard, CSC RAN, said the interception of the yacht by the Cape St George showed the versatile role played by the ABF.

“While our primary tasking is patrolling coastal waters, we also have the capability to assist our Commonwealth, State and Territory law enforcement partners when they require an offshore response,” Rear Admiral Goddard said. “Not only did we intercept a criminal allegedly trying to flee the country, we potentially saved that man’s life as he was not equipped properly for an extended sail in open water.”

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