A boat carrying Tamil asylum seekers may be the first boat to successfully arrive at Christmas Island this year.
The 72 foot boat carrying 153 asylum seekers, including 32 women and 37 children is presently over 300 kilometers west of Christmas Island. The boat has made contact with Australian maritime rescue authorities.
“The boat is making very slow headway, but they do have an oil leak and are concerned that they will run out of oil before they reach Christmas Island,” said Refugee Action Coalition spokesperson, Ian Rintoul, who first spoke with the asylum seekers last night (Thursday). “They are asking for help.”
“It is imperative that the asylum seekers get all the assistance they need to get safely to Christmas Island, said Rintoul, “Australia is the only country in the region with the rescue capabilities to ensure their welfare.
‘We are extremely concerned that the government may attempt to divert the asylum seekers or leave assistance until it is too late. Government policy of putting stopping boats ahead of saving lives, created a disaster in the case of the boat that capsized in July 2012 and scores of lives were lost.
“We do not want to see a repeat of that tragedy. It is completely unclear what priority is given to saving lives at sea and what instructions and protocols affect Australia’s rescue authorities under the Coalition’s Operation Sovereign Borders.
“If Scott Morrison is really concerned about saving live at sea, he will ensure that the Tamil asylum seekers arrive safely in Australia.”
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713.
Category: Press releases