Off Indonesia coast: Pakistani among over 200 asylum-seekers rescued

Around 7,364 people have sought asylum in Australia this year.


Afp August 11, 2012

SYDNEY:


Australia rescued more than 200 asylum-seekers from a boat off Indonesia, officials said on Friday as they confirmed that some navy ships are literally cracking under the strain of their work.


Authorities raced to help a vessel in Indonesian waters north of the remote Australian territory of Christmas Island late Wednesday, transferring the 211 people on board to naval ships.

“This boat was rescued by the Australian navy,” said Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, adding that those on board included Sri Lankans, Iranians, Afghans and Pakistanis.

“It had reported difficulty,” he told ABC Radio.

It is believed to be the largest number of people on a single vessel seeking asylum in Australia since Labor was elected in late 2007, with more than 7,000 boatpeople arriving in the country this year.

Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said he had no details about the state of the boat but said the sea was sufficiently rough that the navy initially towed the craft until those onboard could be safely transferred.

The rescue came as the defence department ordered a detailed structural analysis of the patrol ships it uses to intercept boatpeople, after major cracking was found on three vessels.

“We’ve found cracking in the engine room of HMAS Armidale,” Clare said.

“This is the part of the ship, the part of the boat that comes under the most strain, the most pressure, particularly in rough weather. “And we’ve identified minor cracks in two others of our navy patrol boats.”

Clare, who said the navy had made temporary fixes to all the boats and was developing a permanent repair plan, would not explicitly link the damage of the vessels to the rescue of asylum boats.

But he conceded there had been an increase in asylum-seeker boats in recent months after the government failed to pass the so-called “Malaysia Solution” they had hoped would deter people from making the dangerous sea voyage.

Under that plan boatpeople arriving in Australia would have been sent to Malaysia and in return Canberra would have resettled some of the Southeast Asian nation’s registered refugees.

But the legislation failed to pass through parliament and boats have continued to arrive, with some 108 asylum-seeker vessels carrying 7,364 people recorded so far this year. The figure is already more than the previous record of 6,555 set in 2010. Last year 4,565 boatpeople arrived. Clare said asylum-seekers were “hurrying to get on boats as quickly as possible before this parliament implements legislation that would introduce a real disincentive for people to make that dangerous journey at all”.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2012. 

Our Publications

COMMENTS (2)

stanos | 8 years ago | Reply

Hello can you here me ... sell Cookos Island and Chrismas Island to Indonesja , problem solved - and save same taxpayers money ...

anthony albanese | 8 years ago | Reply

How far around the pacific is the gillard government going to send our navy vessels to so called rescue boat people not even in our waters,they should be left to the indonesian government to rescue them,why did we give them ships for rerscue purposes if we are going to go and bring them to our shores.Poor taxpayer will never stop paying to save these fools even when not actually in our waters.This government like it or not has to realise they are just giving monies to indonesia for no reason as they are a part of the smuggling problem.Clare and Bowen should be releaved off the job of stopping these boat people as they have no idea.As far as their concerned everyone on the ocean should be bought back to australia so the taxpayer can support them.And yes lot more boats to come yet so up goes our population and social security for the imports 20,000 and counting

Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ