Written by Staff Writer
29 Jun, 2014 | 10:37 am
Spokesperson of the Australian Refugee Action Coalition Ian Rintoul said that all communication has been lost with the vessel carrying 153 Sri Lankan refugees which was on its way to Christmas Islands.
In an interview with BBC, he said that it has been nine hours since they lost communication with the vessel, and that he was deeply concerned. He also said that they are on alert as they are aware that the vessel is running out of fuel.
He went on to say that all the passengers in the vessel are believed to be Sri Lankan Tamil nationals. Previously, Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison had refused to confirm that a vessel carrying asylum seekers is in distress off the coast of Christmas Island, but media reports noted that the vessel had sprung an oil leak around 250km away from Christmas Island.
Here is what a passenger had reportedly said at the time before communication was lost.
“We have 32 women and 37 children and it happened 250 km from Christmas Island. We are refugees and already came from Sri Lanka and we stayed in India but we hope that we are coming in (unclear)…another thing madam, it is heavily raining also, we didn’t get any help from anywhere and the winds are also increasing high speed and there are huge waves. The children and infant are in the boat. we can see some boat lights maybe it is a fishing boat or a navy..we do not know..”
No vessel carrying asylum seekers has successfully reached Australian shores since December19, 2013.
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