Boat arrives as builders raise compound on Christmas Island

Paige Taylor; 22/3/10

Works are furiously under way to open a new 400-bed compound at the Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre after the surprise arrival of 92 Sri Lankans at the weekend left just 36 beds to spare. There were 2004 people in immigration detention on the island yesterday, and a spokeswoman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said current capacity was 2040. But the spokeswoman said a new 400-bed compound on the edge of the Immigration Detention Centre was close to completion, and would be opened at the end of this month or at the beginning of next month depending on factors such as rain. On Saturday, residents of the suburb known as Kampong woke to find a big wooden boat carrying 92 men, women and children on the edge of Flying Fish Cove. The boat, which is thought to have travelled direct from Sri Lanka, had been intercepted northwest of the island the previous night by HMAS Albany.