Monday, November 02, 2009

Mission impossible

The Oceanic Viking impasse continues with the Sri Lankan asylum seekers attempting to apply additional compassion-pressure on the Australian government: at least some of Sri Lankans say they will kill themselves if forced to return to Indonesia. Also, it is claimed that a nine-month-old baby is not getting enough to eat.

There are also the inevitable claims that Australian personnel are physically abusive and inclined to use "bad words". It's obvious that the Australian government hasn't really been in control of this diabolically complex, high-stakes situation from the beginning, with Australia's handling of boat people appearing to be ad hoc.

In related news there are reports of a vessel carrying 40 people – presumably asylum seekers – sinking some 2,000 km off the Western Australian coast. Apparently 23 of those on board are missing. With the Oceanic Viking currently acting as a floating detention centre a significant naval asset is unable to perform its patrol mission and could not assist in a rescue operation that it might otherwise have been able to participate in.


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