This may get a lot of airplay today depending on how convinced the Media unit at the Minister’s office are. It is worth remembering that this is not the first time that the Sri Lankan Government has made claims of piracy by Tamil Asylum Seekers. The previous story died a sudden death when the merchant navy ship supposedly threatened refused to corroborate. The Rajapaksa Government is running an intense anti- Tamil campaign in order to justify the persecution and oppression in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka investigates asylum boat ‘hijacking’
Updated 11 hours 32 minutes ago
Sri Lanka says it is investigating claims that a group of men stole a fishing boat off the Sri Lankan coast and are heading to Australia.
Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Australia, Thisara Samarasinghe, says two fisherman who were pulled out of the water say their boat was stolen and the crew was pushed overboard.
He says it is not clear at this stage if the people who allegedly stole the boat are asylum seekers who want to get to Australia.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says he has asked to be kept up-to-date with the investigation.
“There has been conflicting reporting so I rang the Sri Lankan High Commissioner today to seek a briefing from him,” he told Sky.
“The things that he emphasised to me were that details were sketchy, that there were allegations made but nothing more than that at this point and that they were continuing to investigate and that he would certainly advise me as soon as possible of any further details.”
Mr Samarashinghe says Sri Lankan authorities are searching for the boat.
“Navy with its resources are searching for this boat, so Sri Lankan authorities are investigating, interrogating these two people to collaborate their story,” he said.
“Once that is established, we will share all this information with Australia [if] there is a criminal act at sea.”
“Boats do head to Australia these days, but that’s speculation.
“We have alerted all countries on a search and rescue intention, if they are heading to Australia then we have kept Australian authorities informed.”
Topics: refugees, maritime, sri-lanka
First posted Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:36pm AEDT