Australian Navy incursions into Indonesian waters are like a Test cricketer dropping a catch, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.
A joint Customs and Defence internal review is investigating how Australian vessels unintentionally sailed into Indonesian territory as part of Operation Sovereign Borders.
The incursions reignited tensions between Canberra and Jakarta that had been brought on earlier by revelations Australian intelligence agencies had spied on the Indonesian president and his inner circle.
Mr Abbott said Australia deeply regretted the incursions and had fully apologised.
“I think the Indonesians have accepted our apology,” he told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
Asked how the incursions could happen in light of GPS technology and highly-skilled personnel, Mr Abbott said: “On the high seas all sorts of things happen”.
Even people who were at the very top of their game occasionally made mistakes, he said.
“Test cricketers drop catches, great footballers occasionally miss tackles.”
Mr Abbott vowed the incursions would not happen again.
He also defended his government’s tough approach to border protection, pointing out 40 days had gone without an asylum-seeker boat arrival.