- United States
On Wednesday August 8th, 2012, two Australian Navy patrol vessels received a distress call from another asylum boat, carrying the largest number of refugees onboard in the last decade. The boat was carrying over 200 asylum seekers, who were transferred to the Navy vessels and taken to the Christmas Island for further processing. This new arrival has added to the figure of more than 7,000 asylum seekers who have arrived on boats this year. As the Australian immigration department is struggling to keep up with the continuous arrivals of these boats, the Australian Navy is also been under similar pressure lately.
The Maritime safety authority in Australia had received a distress call from an asylum boat late Wednesday evening this week. After the call two Navy patrol vessels were dispatched. The two vessels, HMAS Larrakia and HMAS Ararat, carried 211 asylum seekers to Christmas Island to save them from the sinking boat that brought them here.
Chris Bowen, Australian Immigration minister, has been receiving report from the immigration authorities that the Navy patrol vessels are being physically affected by these continuous rescues. Bowen told the press that rescuing these asylum boats is putting the navy under a lot of uninvited operational pressure. He said that the navy is much preoccupied in these rescues and is suffering dearly.
“Of course,” Bowen said, “there has been increased operational tempo in the north due to an increase in asylum seekers … but they’d also be doing other work as well.”
The report also stated that the Defense ministry had ordered a thorough inspection of about 14 of its patrol boats. These orders are being associated with the event of a navy vessel being banned from operations after certain structural cracks were discovered in it. Since then two more vessels with similar cracks have been discovered. These damages are being attributed to continuous boarding of large number of asylum seekers on these vessels in their rescue missions to transport them to the processing centers.
The coalition is putting complete blame of these incidents on the government. The opposition immigration minister Scott Morrison said that such activities were putting a continuous strain on the Australian Border protection. Morrison said that he thinks that the government should start paying attention towards the oppositions suggestions.
“This government is in a Deadlock of their own.” Morrison said, “The government must reinstate the Coalition’s border protection policies.” These polices, he said, include temporary protection visas, offshore processing on Nauru and turning around boats when it is “safe to do so”.
The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard had asked three eminent Australians to prepare a suggestive report for possible solutions to this asylum problem, when the parliament had failed to reach any viable solutions. The group’s report will contain possible options constructed on basis of opinions gathered from all three parties namely the Labor, the Greens and the Coalition. The report is expected to be presented in the parliament in coming days.
But before it is presented in the parliament, the Coalition has indirectly boycotted the report by claiming that they do not require assistance from any committee to tell them their policies.
Other Related News: