Border Force stalks then pounces on Gold Coast yacht
AN Australian Border Force operation shrouded in secrecy came to a dramatic end on the Gold Coast yesterday.
Two men were taken into custody after their 30ft yacht was escorted by authorities to a marina berth outside the Southport Yacht Club.
The yacht from overseas, which sported a Croatian national flag, was shadowed by the Navy's Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Pirie, then boarded by Water Police midmorning yesterday.
Sniffer dogs were then called in and Australian Border Force staff went through everything on the vessel between midday and 4pm.
While it is not certain what authorities were looking for or what was found - the boat has been detained and is under guard.
"I don't know what's going on ... this is the big problem ... because I don't know what is going on," one of the crewmen told media as he was taken to a waiting van.
When asked where the crew were from he said: "Far away".
Southport Yacht Club general manager Brett James told the Gold Coast Bulletin he received a phone call yesterday morning to inform him authorities needed a berth to moor a yacht they needed to search.
"They notified us around 10am and two hours later they were here," he said.
"We were just asked to make a berth available.
"This has happened before ... but it looks a bit different to normal.
"I am not sure if the yacht is staying or going to be moved."
Usually customs inspections take place in Brisbane and while there are occasional searches on the Gold Coast, locals say an operation on this scale is unusual.
"This is quite a big operation," a Main Beach man told the Gold Coast Bulletin.
"It is a bit of excitement for the area.
"We have been watching it for hours ... it looks like it could be a drug raid," another man added.
Australian Border Force on the ground refused to comment and the media department issued a short statement to the Bulletin.
"The ABF is currently conducting operational activities, no further comment will be made at this time."