Theweekendleader

Tamil refugee boat from India in distress near Christmas Island

27-June-2014

A boat reportedly carrying 153 – presumably Tamil - refugees that left Puducherry two weeks ago is said to have reached near Christmas Island and couple of people on board who have spoken to the media via satellite phone have identified themselves as refugees.

Christmas Island, which is part of Australian territory, lies about 2600 km northwest of Perth, Western Australian and 500 km south of Indonesia

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, one of the refugees had told Fairfax Media, that the boat they were travelling had been damaged and was leaking.

He is said to have spoken in Tamil and reportedly said, “We have come to Christmas island because we don’t have anything. We have travelled all the way from India.

Among the passengers, there are reportedly 37 children and 32 women. According to a woman passenger quoted in the story, they had set out from Puducherry on June 13.

Meanwhile, the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) quoted Greens Senator Sarah Hanson – Young as saying, “They’ve come from India and they’re not far from Christmas Island. They are saying that the boat is in trouble. They’re obviously coming to Australia to seek asylum and are calling for help.”

“Now, if the boat is in trouble, as per the reports, then the Australian Government needs to act quickly, to ensure that there is no further sinking of the boat and there’s no fatalities. (sic)”

Christmas Island, which is part of Australian territory, lies about 2600 km northwest of Perth, Western Australian and 500 km south of Indonesia. - TWL Bureau