August 14, 2012
Two more boatloads of asylum seekers have been rescued off the coast of Indonesia in the past 24 hours. Picture: AFP Source: News Limited.
THERE have been two dramatic rescues at sea of asylum seekers from crippled boats off Indonesia in the past 24 hours.
Australia’s Maritime Safety Authority received the first distress call at 5.30am yesterday morning from a passenger on a boat carrying 59 people.
The boat was just 66 nautical miles south of Tanjung Bantenam in Java.
Australia’s rescue coordination centre tracked the vessel’s location via the signal from its satellite phone.
An AMSA spokeswoman said the location differed from what the asylum seekers had given as their position so a plane was sent to check and the satellite phone coordinates were confirmed.
A merchant vessel was dispatched to the scene and took the passengers on board last night.
Last night at 5pm AMSA received another distress call from an asylum boat just 46 nautical miles south of Indonesia.
AMSA also traced its location via its satellite phone signal and a merchant ship was sent to the aid of the 54 passengers on board.
Customs will take the passengers from the two boats on board its vessel and they will be taken to Christmas Island for health, security and identity checks.
The rescues come as Julia Gillard prepares to introduce legislation into Federal Parliament to reopen detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island following the release of yesterday’s Houston report into asylum seeker policy.