Quantcast
Latest Stories

One dead, 88 rescued in Australia refugee boat sinking


SYDNEY—Australian authorities were scouring remote seas for survivors Saturday after a people-smuggling boat carrying 97 went down, with 88 people rescued so far and the body of a baby found.

Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said the boat first issued a distress call in rough seas north of Christmas Island, between Australia and Indonesia, on Friday morning.

Rescuers were unable to reach the scene until 10:00 pm (1200 GMT), and a short time later Clare said a huge wave broke over the boat and it began to sink.

“Last night our officers have rescued 88 people and they’ve recovered the body of a little baby boy,” Clare told reporters, adding that the infant was reportedly less than a year old.

“The advice to me is that there were 97 people on board and a search and rescue effort is happening right now.”

Two navy patrol boats and a merchant vessel were combing the seas 87 nautical miles north of Christmas Island, along with a military aircraft and two maritime rescue planes.

The ill-fated ship was believed to have originated in Indonesia with passengers from Iran, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, Clare said.

Clare said the 88 plucked from the sea overnight had been transferred to immigration detention on the remote island, Australia’s main facility for holding asylum-seekers arriving by boat.

It is the second asylum boat incident on the dangerous people-smuggling sea passage from Java in a week — a vessel issued a distress signal last Friday after taking on water but was ultimately able to fix its engine.

Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was in Indonesia holding diplomatic talks on the sensitive issue with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the time.

Rudd said Saturday’s emergency “underlines the absolute importance of Australia continuing to adjust its policy to meet changing circumstances in the region and in the world.”

“The loss of any child’s life or of any person’s life at sea in these sorts of circumstances is a genuine human tragedy,” the prime minister said.

“Our response in terms of elevating the work we do cooperatively with the Indonesians and others is now urgent.”

Promising that he would “have more to say” regarding policy changes ahead of this year’s elections, Rudd highlighted source and transit country talks and tightening refugee claims and approvals as key areas.

“Other measures in terms of the continued adjustment of our border protection policy are critical,” he said.

Hundreds of asylum-seekers have drowned on the dangerous sea voyage from Indonesia when their rickety, overloaded boats sank.

More than 13,000 asylum-seekers have arrived in Australia by boat since January 1, piling pressure on the ruling Labor party in an election year.

It is a controversial political issue likely to loom large in the lead-up to polls to be held later this year.

The conservative opposition accuses Labor of losing control of Australia’s borders and proposes using the navy to tow back people-smuggling boats — a plan not welcomed by Jakarta.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Australia , boat sinking , refugee




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  4. SC suspends proctor in 2011 bar exams
  5. Senator Pimentel backs German think tank’s stand vs dynasties
  6. Bar proctor suspended for photographing test papers
  7. Collector Danny Garcia says Inquirer worth more than news
  8. Meteor shower to light up PH skies
  9. What Went Before: Enrile denies Gigi Reyes was ‘other woman’
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  8. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  9. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • Healing priest invites political leaders to join ‘prayer for nation’
  • Tagle: Christ’s resurrection a message of hope to faithful
  • Aquino vows to intensify anti-corruption drive further
  • Unease in Vatican over cardinal’s luxury flat—report
  • Nepal calls off search for missing guides on Everest—official
  • Sports

  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Rain or Shine grabs No.4, sends Ginebra to 8th
  • Red-hot Alaska rips injury-depleted San Mig Coffee
  • Pacquiao courtesy call to Aquino set for Monday
  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Lifestyle

  • Kristo gathers 100 artists
  • ‘Magkabilaan’ concert at Peta celebrates 20-year dance partnership
  • Philippine novelist wins US book award amid cancer and ‘Yolanda’
  • Taboan 2014 in Subic: A movable, moving literary feast
  • Drawings at Stephanie
  • Entertainment

  • Solenn in shorts
  • Unmerry mix of attention-calling moves on ‘Mini-Me’ TV tilts
  • Persistence pays off for The 1975
  • Special section in LA fest for Filipino films
  • The Way They Like It
  • Business

  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Bourse to woo Cebu stock mart investors
  • Supper power
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement