Australia gives Malaysia two Customs patrol boats

A STRONGER deal with Malaysia on border protection could be on the horizon, after Immigration Minister Scott Morrison agreed to give the country two Customs patrol boats.

Mr Morrison announced the two Bay Class vessels would soon be handed over to Malaysia to help counter people smuggling operations across the region.

He said the addition of the patrol boats to Malaysia's fleet was the latest part of an agreement secured with the country in November to disrupt people smuggling.

"The Bay Class vessels have a range of 1000 nautical miles at 20 knots, are crewed by 12 officers, and equipped with two response tenders capable of being launched from a moving vessel in most sea states,"

"These vessels will offer enhanced search and rescue and interception capacity to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency's border protection operations. This will improve Malaysia's capability to preserve life at sea while shutting down people smuggling syndicates.

The deal follows recent comments by Prime Minister Tony Abbott describing the Operation Sovereign Borders as part of a war-like approach to people smuggling operations.

Mr Morrison said Australia would also train Malaysian authorities in using the boats.