October 28, 2012
Passengers on the latest boat arrival were taken to the Cocos Islands for health checks. Source: Supplied
SIXTY-two people will be transferred to Christmas Island after a boat was intercepted north of Cocos Islands.
The vessel was detected by an RAAF maritime patrol aircraft on Friday and the passengers were first taken to Cocos (Keeling) Islands where they are undergoing basic health and security checks.
They will be transferred to Christmas Island where the Department of Immigration and Citizenship will assess their reasons for travel.
Meanwhile, more Sri Lankan men have opted to return home from Christmas Island.
The eight men flew back to Colombo on Saturday, taking to 29 the number of Sri Lankans who have returned since Friday, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said in a statement today.
That total includes 14 people who were deported from the Cocos Islands on a charter flight on Saturday.
The group of 14, which included three children, had been on the Chejan, a fishing trawler that was allegedly hijacked on October 13 off the Sri Lankan coast.
The allegedly hijacked boat was intercepted on Thursday northwest of the Cocos Islands by ACV Hervey Bay.
On Friday, seven men from Christmas Island departed Perth on a commercial flight to Colombo after volunteering to return home, an immigration department spokesman said.
He said they all arrived after new regional processing arrangements were announced in August.
Transfers of boat arrivals to Nauru for processing are continuing under those new arrangements and more would follow in the coming weeks, the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Border Protection Command says it has transferred 35 people to Christmas Island after coming to the assistance of their boat north of the Ashmore Islands on Friday.
People arriving by boat without a visa after August 13 this year run the risk of transfer to a regional processing country.