New details reveal five 'would-be terrorists' crawled at 30 km/h from Melbourne to Cairns in a farcical bid to use a seven-metre boat to travel to Indonesia and join Islamic State.
Police have released the names of the five men who were taken into custody on Wednesday after authorities foiled their bizarre alleged plan in Cairns.
Robert “Musa” Cerantonio, 30, Shayden Thorne, 28, Kadir Kaya, 22, Paul Dacre and one other man were questioned over the plot, which began in Bendigo when the men purchased the vessel.
Preacher Musa Cerantonio outside the Vatican with a flag that says “there is no god but Allah, Mohammed is the messenger of Allah". Photo: Facebook/7News
Shayden Thorne. Photo: Supplied
Kadir Kaya. Photo: Supplied
The men then towed the boat across three states, headed for far north Queensland where they planned to begin their journey through more than 3000 kilometres of rough seas to Indonesia.
The trip did not go as smoothly as the men planned, The Courier Mail reports, as their older model car struggled to tow the boat and putted along at a snail's pace of 30 km/h.
Exclusive pictures revealed the inside of the boat that the five 'would-be terrorists' planned to use, revealing objects strewn around the main cavity of the boat, including socks, shoes, a tyre, a rubber hose and various items of clothing.
The men travelled inland through Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Photo: Yahoo7
Rubber tubing, water and clothes found on boat five men allegedly planned to travel to Indonesia in. Photo: 7News
Police say the seven-metre vessel showed the men were 'extremely committed' to their mission to join IS. Photo: 7 News
Just one bulk plastic-wrapped stash of bottled water sat unpacked for the five men on the journey.
A pair of tracksuit pants were draped over the boat's wheel, with what appeared to be a small sleeping room with dishevelled sheets at the front of the boat.
Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner Neil Gaughan confirmed on Wednesday the men had been under investigation for "a number of weeks".
The men, aged between 21 and 33, have not yet been charged.
"They were in a boat that was seven metres long.
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"They were obviously very committed," Mr Gaughan said in Melbourne.
The fact that they'd travelled from Melbourne to far north Queensland "indicates that these people were extremely committed in their adventure and their attempt to leave the country".
A pair of tracksuit pants is draped over the boat's wheel, with what appears to be a small sleeping room with dishevelled sheets at the front of the boat. Photo: 7News
The passports of the men had been cancelled, police said.
On Wednesday, Victoria Police deputy commissioner Shane Patton explained the decision to stop the group leaving Australia, warning of the risk if they returned combat hardened and radicalised.
"I know there'd be people sitting at home saying 'why don't you simply just let them go and take their chance in the waves and fighting in Syria'," he said in Melbourne.
"We have a requirement to ensure that people can't get offshore to go and fight in other countries, can't get offshore to become hardened terrorists and come back here and pose a risk."
Islamist preacher Musa Cerantonio. Photo: ABC
Musa Cerantonio escorted by Filipino police during an arrest in 2014. Photo: AP
Musa Cerantonio is a notorious Islamic preacher while Shayden Thorne is the brother of hardline Islamist preacher Junaid Thorne.
Thorne was sentenced by a Saudi court in 2013 to four-and-a-half years in prison on charges including supporting and encouraging terrorism, but was granted clemency in 2014 and deported to Australia.
Cerantonio is considered by authorities to be influential among would-be foreign fighters.
He was arrested in the Philippines in 2014 after saying he was en route to Syria, and has since kept a relatively low profile since his deportation.
The AFP has previously described his pro-IS social media posts as "offensive and disturbing".
Australia Federal Police arrested the men in Cairns only after fearing they would get into trouble on their way to Indonesia. Photo: AFP
Deputy commissioner Patton said the men were helping police with their inquires but the arrests were not related to any impending threat to the community.
"As this activity remains ongoing, further comment will be provided when it is appropriate to do so," he said.