The immigration minister, Scott Morrison, has refused to confirm claims by refugee activists that a boat carrying Tamil asylum seekers is in trouble off Australia.
On Friday, refugee activists said that a 21-metre boat carrying 153 asylum seekers, which had left from India, had sprung an oil leak and was 300km west of Christmas Island.
Morrison said there were no significant incidents at sea to report. “I am advised that I have no such report to provide to you today,” he said on Saturday. He would not confirm if there was a boat, if it was in Australian waters, or if the government had taken any action.
On Friday, a spokesman for the Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul, said there were concerns the boat would run out of oil before it reached Christmas Island and that the government would try to divert the asylum seekers, or not help until it was too late.
Morrison said the government’s border protection policies had not changed and the government did not comment on reports relating to Operation Sovereign Borders unless there was a significant event. "There is no significant event for me to report at sea," the minister said.
Rintoul said the boat was carrying 153 asylum seekers, including 32 women and 37 children.
He said Morrison's attitude to the problem was "cavalier and dismissive".
At 11am (AEST) on Saturday, the boat was still 170 nautical miles from Christmas Island, and likely to run out of oil soon, he said.
"People [on board] are saying it's not an emergency right now … [but] once the engine's not working the boat becomes extremely, extremely vulnerable," Rintoul told AAP on Saturday.
"We don't want to see the government waiting until it's too late. We would expect the authorities to be acting urgently to ensure that they either rescue these people, or provide them with the resources they need to keep the boat afloat and mobile."
Rintoul, who said he was in frequent contact with people on board, said Morrison, should be less concerned with protecting his no-comment policy, and more about saving lives at sea. (The Guardian)
Comments - 7
Gamini Saturday, 28 June 2014 09:08 AM
Rintoul is actively engaged in human trafficking business
Abilash Saturday, 28 June 2014 10:00 AM
These Australian government are so so heartless they don't have plan B to react on such instance they are waiting for the boat to sink so that they can give their condolence. As a Sri Lankan please i request people to Sri Lankans to raise these to human right group and fellow Sri Lankans in Australia please don't vote or vote against the current ruling group. Australian civilization is only around 200 years and they are the sons of criminals n we have rich civilisation over 3000 years.
dharmapalad Sunday, 29 June 2014 12:24 AM
prme minister must lesson the oppersition party in parliament.
Suq Madique Sunday, 29 June 2014 02:38 AM
[quote name="Abilash"]These Australian government are so so heartless they don't have plan B to react on such instance they are waiting for the boat to sink so that they can give their condolence. As a Sri Lankan please i request people to Sri Lankans to raise these to human right group and fellow Sri Lankans in Australia please don't vote or vote against the current ruling group. Australian civilization is only around 200 years and they are the sons of criminals n we have rich civilisation over 3000 years.[/quote] Maybe they have only 200 years of civilization but they're definitely more civilized than us.
sperera Sunday, 29 June 2014 10:14 AM
You can not blame the Australian Govt and claim things as of right. Victims should go after the organizers of these suicidal missions ( Thats victims own choice- Nobody had taken them at gun point)
Ceylonese - Sydney Tuesday, 01 July 2014 03:36 AM
Abilash Australian civilisation to be precise is only 227 years old compared to Sri Lanka's 3000 but it's miles ahead economnically and even provides aid to many countries including Sri Lanka. The majority of immigrants to Australia now come from Britain. It was voted the best country in the world to live by the United Nations last year.
joshua Saturday, 28 June 2014 08:44 PM
Australians are from criminals or angels immaterial as it is not a land for bogus immigrants wearing refugee mask to venture giving faulty fabricated excuses. via DM Android App
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