Finale nears for Oceanic Viking
Tom Allard & Jonatha Perlman; 19/1/10; (2 Items)
The last asylum seekers from the Oceanic Viking are due to leave Indonesia this week, with most destined for New Zealand, which had originally refused to take any of the 78 Sri Lankans on the customs vessel. The development brings to an end a politically challenging saga for the Rudd Government that began when the ethnic Tamils refused to get off the Oceanic Viking after being rescued on the high seas. Along the way, the important relationship with Indonesia was strained while questions remain about just how the Australian Government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) managed to convince several countries to accept the refugees so quickly.
Children feared to be on missing boat
Nicola Berkovic & Brendan Nicholson; 19/1/10
Members of the Afghan community in Brisbane believe women and children were among 105 people on a boat which they fear has sunk after leaving Indonesia for Australia on October 2. However, a spokesman for Immigration and Acting Home Affairs Minister Chris Evans yesterday said the government was not aware of a boat having sunk in Australian waters.”If people have information that a boat has sunk, we urge them to contact the Australian Maritime Safety Authority,” the spokesman said. Hazara community spokesman Hassan Ghulam, of Brisbane, said he’d been told by detainees on Christmas Island that four families, including children, were on the boat which may have sunk in Indonesian, international or Australian waters.