Oceanic Viking Tamils finally reach destination

Paul Maley; 21/12/09

The first of the 78 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers rescued by the Customs vessel Oceanic Viking arrived in Melbourne yesterday as more boat arrivals threatened to overwhelm detention facilities on Christmas Island. An intellectually disabled man and his carer – both understood to be in the mid-20s – became the first of the Oceanic Viking refugees to make their home in Australia. They were among 78 Sri Lankan Tamils who refused for a month to leave the Customs vessel, moored off an Indonesian island, until promised rapid resettlement. All were later found to be genuine refugees. The arrival of the two came as authorities prepared to intercept more boats over the Christmas break, placing a potentially unbearable strain on facilities on Christmas Island. Yesterday, a spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Evans confirmed two of the Sri Lankans had been cleared to come to Australia.

See: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/oceanic-viking-tamils-finally-reach-destination/story-e6frg6nf-1225812260120; Refugees look to Canada; Mark Metherell; 21/12/09; http://www.theage.com.au/national/refugees-look-to-canada-20091220-l7ll.html