OZRURAL.COM.AU


Life on the land in Australia

ASYLUM SEEKERS BOAT WRECK TRAGEDY TO BE INVESTIGATED

CHRISTMAS ISLAND BOAT WRECK TO UNDER ENQUIRY

Federal police are expected to lay charges over the Christmas Island boat disaster soon, the federal government has revealed.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland today said the Australian Federal Police had been working tirelessly on its criminal investigation into last month’s tragedy.

“There is certainly a high likelihood of prosecutions happening and happening relatively quickly in this matter,” Mr McClelland said.

“Certainly there will be some action anticipated reasonably soon I’m advised.”

The AFP’s investigation encompassed the boat’s Indonesian crew and “more substantial operators”, Mr McClelland said.

“As I understand it the action that will be taken shortly will be in respect to the Australian jurisdiction,” he added.

Asked for further details, the AFP said it could not make any comment on an “ongoing investigation”.

At least 30 people died when the asylum seeker boat – known as SIEV 221 – crashed on rocks and broke apart off Christmas Island’s Rocky Point on December 15.

Another 20 people are also believed to have died but their bodies were not recovered. Forty-two people survived.

The news on prosecutions came as Customs and Border Protection Command released an internal review clearing itself of any wrongdoing over the disaster.

Customs chief executive Michael Carmody said his people had followed procedure, displayed good judgement and deserved high praise.

“I am pleased that the internal review recognises the brave efforts of those personnel involved in the difficult rescue,” he said.

The report – the first of several into the disaster – also found Customs had no intelligence to indicate when the boat left Indonesia or when it was likely to arrive at Christmas Island.

The government has accepted the review’s eight recommendations, including the trial of a land-based radar system and additional safety and rescue equipment at strategic locations.

Mr McClelland welcomed the review and praised rescuers for their bravery and professionalism.

But the review was no substitute for broader investigations by the AFP, West Australian police and WA coroner, he said.

The government would also move to set up a joint parliamentary committee to probe the disaster, he said.

Mr McClelland defended the government’s inability to track the vessel’s journey to Australia.

“Intelligence is an imprecise science,” he said.

“All I can say is our agencies do their best. They are well resourced to do it, but given the clandestine nature of these criminal activities, it is necessarily the case that not each and every voyage will be identified.”

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said the coalition also backed the review’s recommendations.

“What is missing from this and likely all other reports into this tragic incident, is the changes that need to be made to the Gillard Labor government’s failed immigration and border protection policies,” he said.

AAP

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


January 24th, 2011
Topic: BOATS MARINE, COUNTRY LIFESTYLES, LAW POLICE CRIME, PEOPLE Tags: , , , , , ,

≡ Leave a Reply