June 28, 2013
A boat carrying 56 asylum seekers bound for Australia’s Christmas Island were detained by Maritime Police off the coast of Tangerang, Banten, on Wednesday, police said.
Police arrested the boat’s captain, a man identified as Darwis, and the crew of the Kian Santang boat after spotting the vessel in the waters west of Laki Island, off the coast of Mauk, Tangerang, Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said on Thursday. The 56 asylum seekers found on-board were transferred to the Tangerang Immigration Office for processing.
“The Tangerang and Jakarta maritime police stopped the boat and its captain, Darwis, as well as two crew members in waters west of Laki island near Mauk in Tangerang,” Rikwanto said. “There were 56 illegal immigrants on board — 41 men, 11 women and four children. The ship was transporting them to Christmas Island.”
Rikwanto said that the boat, the captain, the crew and the asylum seekers were taken to the Jakarta headquarters of the maritime police.
“Yesterday, at around 5:30 p.m. all immigrants had been handed over to the Tangerang Immigration Office,” Rikwanto said.
Indonesia is a common transit point for Australia-bound asylum seekers, where thousands of potential refugees risk their lives aboard leaky boats operated by people smuggling syndicates.