Languages
Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Friday, 13 November 2009

Tamil asylum seekers leave ship

Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka on board Australia customs ship Oceanic Viking - 29 October 2009
The Tamils have been on the Oceanic Viking for nearly one month

Twenty-two Sri Lankan asylum seekers have come ashore from an Australian customs ship anchored in Indonesia's waters, Indonesian officials have said.

They were among 78 ethnic Tamils on the Oceanic Viking, moored off Bintan island near Singapore, who had refused to leave the ship.

The Oceanic Viking picked them up during its duties in Indonesia's maritime search zone last month.

The 22 men are being taken to Bintan to have their asylum claims processed.

The Tamils will be processed at an Australian-funded detention centre at Tanjung Pinang on Bintan.

Indonesia agreed to take the asylum seekers last month as part of an agreement with Australia to cope with an influx of migrants to both countries.

The Tamils initially refused to leave the ship, saying they wanted to be taken directly to Australia. The remaining 56 Tamils are still on the Oceanic Viking.

The Australian government was reported to have offered the Tamils resettlement within four to six weeks if they agreed to leave the ship.

But Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said their claims were not being fast-tracked.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans said most of the Tamils could end up in Australia if their claims were found to be genuine.

An upsurge in asylum seekers arriving in Australia this year has prompted the opposition to claim the government has made the country a soft target for people smugglers.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Indonesia 'might expel' refugees
29 Oct 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Australia refuses Tamil refugees
28 Oct 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia agrees to asylum deal
20 Oct 09 |  Asia-Pacific
People smuggler crewed Tamil boat
19 Oct 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Australia PM unmoved by refugees
16 Oct 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Asylum for boat-explosion Afghans
12 Oct 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Australia PM furious at smugglers
17 Apr 09 |  Asia-Pacific


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific