A high-tech Chinese surveillance ship has been tracked off the West Australian coast, close to a secretive naval communications base that supports Ame

Defence Minister Peter Dutton says a Chinese spy ship has been seen near secretive naval facility off Western Australia

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2022-05-13 11:00:08

A high-tech Chinese surveillance ship has been tracked off the West Australian coast, close to a secretive naval communications base that supports American and other allied submarines.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton has revealed the auxiliary general intelligence (AGI) vessel was closely monitored by the ADF as it sailed past the Harold E Holt naval station at Exmouth.

Mr Dutton said Australia had been tracking the spy ship in the past "week or so" but didn't put an exact date on the surveillance.

The Defence Minister, who described the situation as unprecedented, said he was concerned not just at how far south the ship had travelled but also that it had "hugged" the coastline as it headed back north towards Darwin.

Shadow Defence Minister Brendan O'Connor said Labor "shares concerns" that the Chinese are conducting surveillance operations off Australia's west coast.

"We note a concerning pattern of behaviour from the PLA Navy of intelligence ships entering Australia economic exclusive zone," Mr O'Connor said in a statement.

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