Tory press says ‘boat people sabotaged own vessel’
Saturday February 24th 2007, 6:15 am

Those damn tricky queue jumpers!!

Pistons overboard!

Boatpeople ‘sabotaged vessel’

by Cath Hart – The Australian

A BOATLOAD of 85 asylum-seekers from Sri Lanka and Indonesia sabotaged the engine and hull of their boat just hours after it had been repaired by the Australian navy, the Government claimed yesterday.

Last night, the 83 Sri Lankans and two Indonesians who were intercepted on Tuesday were still on the navy’s HMAS Success in international waters 50 nautical miles from Christmas Island.


The Government confirmed yesterday that some of the men had indicated to Australian authorities that they wished to claim asylum.

However, it is unclear when this occurred because Mr Andrews’s office told media on Wednesday that no asylum claims had been made.


Shortly after the newly repaired vessel had sailed away, the crew of HMAS Success noticed it had stopped moving again. “They again approached the vessel and found more damage had been done to the engine or the engines of the vessel, and there was also further damage which had been made to the hull of the vessel,” Mr Andrews said.

“As a result of that, the Success crew formed the opinion that this vessel was unseaworthy, and they invited occupants of that vessel to board the Success.”

Mr Andrews said the second effort to sabotage the boat had left it unseaworthy and taking on water. He defended the handling of the case, saying it was “Australian Government policy in practice” and that there had been no “untoward delay”.

“We’ve carried out our obligations … we have rescued people who may have otherwise been in danger of drowning had their unseaworthy vessel sunk,” Mr Andrews said. “The time has passed to get the boat going.

Honest, we believe you, Mr Reith… errr… Mr Andrews


MORE: Howard to send asylum seekers back to suspected point of origin, against terms of the 1951 UN Refugee Commission, to which Australia is a signator.

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