Six asylum-seeker boats intercepted in a week

February 22, 2013

SIX asylum seeker boats have been intercepted by Australian rescue agencies in the last week.

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According media releases from Home Affairs Minister’s office on February 16, HMAS Albany, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted vessel beleived to had been carrying 33 passengers and two crew north-east of Christmas Island over night.

Media release issued on February 18, confirms interception of THREE more boats – this time the vessels were carrying 84, 58 and 17 passengers respectively. HMAS Parramatta, HMAS Pirie and HMAS Albany, operating under the control of Border Protection Command rendered assistance to the vessels. All passengers are transferred to Christmas Island by Border Protection Command.

Another media release issued on February 21, reports a rescue operation. The release reads as per following;

HMAS Parramatta, operating under the coordination of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia), rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel that sought assistance north of Christmas Island yesterday.

The vessel was initially detected by a RAAF maritime patrol aircraft, also operating under the coordination of RCC Australia. A merchant vessel, ANL Warringa, having responded to RCC Australia’s ships broadcast, assisted in monitoring the vessel overnight Tuesday (19 February) until HMAS Parramatta arrived on scene.

HMAS Parramatta provided assistance to the vessel as it continued to track towards Christmas Island. HMAS Parramatta continued to monitor the vessel and again sought to render assistance and boarded the vessel yesterday.
With concerns about the seaworthiness of the vessel the passengers were embarked onto HMAS Parramatta. Towards the completion of the transfer effort, the vessel capsized. A number of people entered the water. HMAS Parramatta is confident all people were recovered from the water with some minor injuries reported.

Indications are there were 88 passengers and three crew on board.

Border Protection Command will make arrangements to transfer the people to Australian Government authorities on Christmas Island, where they will undergo security, health and identity checks and their reasons for travel will be established.

On the same day, HMAS Glenelg, operating under the coordination of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia), has rendered assistance to another suspected irregular entry vessel that sought assistance north-east of Christmas Island overnight.

Initial indications suggested there were 66 passengers on board the vessel. Due to deteriorating weather conditions and concern for the safety of passengers on board, the passengers were transferred on to HMAS Glenelg and ACV Ocean Protector.

Source: http://www.ministerhomeaffairs.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx

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