12 Aralık 2017 Salı

Asylum seeker boat arrives at Australia’s Cocos Islands

Report quotes locals saying boat spotted arriving at island chain’s main lagoon, in first reported case since mid-2014

06 Mayıs 2016 Cuma 13:08
Asylum seeker boat arrives at Australia’s Cocos Islands
A boat suspected to be carrying around a dozen Sri Lankans has arrived in Cocos Islands, becoming the first asylum seeker vessel reported to enter Australian territory since mid-2014.
News broadcaster ABC reported Tuesday that locals said the vessel -- measuring 10- to 11-meters-long -- sailed in bad weather early Monday toward the Cocos Islands, a chain of islands and atolls.
Local Awie Rasa told ABC’s Hack program that he saw the boat heading toward the main lagoon between Home Island -- the most populated with around 500 residents -- and capital West Island.
"I heard it didn't reach Home Island, just anchorage around about 500m away from Home Island,” he said. "That's pretty close."
Rasa, who said he was previously employed as a skipper escorting asylum seeker vessels, estimated that 12 people were on board the boat, which he believed to be from Sri Lanka due to its " yellow and light blue" color.
"They’ve got the same colour boat -- they're all coloured the same," he added.
The program quoted another local as saying that he saw the boat "well and truly inside the lagoon”.
He said that Australian Federal Police escorted the boat until it moored, and two Border Force launches "appeared at great speed over the horizon" before the suspected asylum seekers were moved onto one of the vessels.
"As far as vessels reaching the lagoon and getting inside the lagoon -- that's certainly the closest one that's got in for some time," he said.
Under its immigration policy, Australia refuses to accept asylum seekers who arrive by boat, instead detaining them at offshore detention centers including Nauru, where conditions have been described as appalling by rights advocates.
The last reported arrival of an asylum seeker vessel in Australian territory was in July 2014, when authorities intercepted a boat near Christmas Island that was carrying 157 people -- who were eventually sent to Nauru.

AA
Anahtar Kelimeler: NauruCocos Islands

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