Saturday, July 24, 2010

People smugglers exploit 'distress call' loophole

Canny Indonesian people smugglers have taken to broadcasting "distress calls" from international waters near Australia:

In one case a patrol boat went to the aid of an Indonesian vessel in "distress" outside the 12 mile zone, took 70 asylum seekers off it, then provided it with fuel and watched it steam its way back to Indonesia.

So asylum seekers are being shuttled from Indonesia for delivery to the Royal Australian Navy which shuttles them to Australia. Overworked naval personnel are unimpressed with their role as immigration facilitators:

Many of the sailors, and their families, are so fed up that they openly support Opposition policy to turn boats around and reinstate temporary protection visas.

On any given day eight of the 10 Darwin-based Armidale Class patrol boats are at sea on boat people duty.

"We will do it, but it will be a s*** fight," one sailor said.

"There will be children overboard, sewing lips, jumping, fighting and we will need SAS and infantry with riot batons and shields to turn them back."

There are reportedly between 300 and 800 asylum seekers enroute to Australia so there will be no break for the RAN.


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