- Title: INDONESIA: Missing asylum seeker boat docks, passengers disappear.
- Date: 15th April 2012
- Summary: LOMBOK, WEST NUSA TENGGARA PROVINCE, INDONESIA (APRIL 13, 2012) (REUTERS) SEARCH AND RESCUE WORKERS PREPARING FOR OPERATION VARIOUS OF HELICOPTER DURING SEARCH AND RESCUE CREW RETURNING TO AIRBASE (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) HEAD OF SEARCH AND RESCUE IN WEST NUSA TENGGARA PROVINCE, MARSUDI, SAYING: "We are doing our best to find the boat, we have located the site but until now we do not see any sign of it." SEARCH AND RESCUE BASE MERTAK VILLAGE, CENTRAL LOMBOK DISTRICT, WEST NUSA TENGGARA PROVINCE, INDONESIA JAPAN (APRIL 14, 2012) (REUTERS) (NIGHTSHOTS) VARIOUS OF EMPTY BOAT IN EARLY MORNING VARIOUS OF FISHERMEN LOOKING AT EMPTY BOAT
- Embargoed: 30th April 2012 13:00
- Location: Indonesia, Indonesia
- Country: Indonesia
- Topics: Politics,People,Transport
- Reuters ID: LVAEBGUHT45HLQ0VEDJEEMN7XEH1
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: A missing boat thought to be carrying asylum seekers bound for Australia and which the authorities feared had capsized, appeared to have landed in a port in Central Lombok district early on Saturday (April 14), but no passengers were found aboard.
Indonesia Search and Rescue had deployed boats and a helicopter to find the vessel, but the operation had been suspended on Friday (April 13) night.
"We are doing our best to find the boat, we have located the site but until now we do not see any sign of it," said Marsudi, head of search and rescue in West Nusa Tenggara, on Friday.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, fishermen in Mertak village, Central Lombok, said that after the boat landed in the small port, people described as foreigners were seen running away from the vessel.
Asylum seekers travelling by boat is a major political issue in Australia, although according to U.N. figures the number of asylum seekers reaching Australia is tiny in comparison with other countries.
Indonesia has enacted a law making people smuggling punishable by a minimum of five years in jail, while Australia has a tough border security policy of preventing asylum seekers reaching its shores by boat.
Most illegal migrants who set sail from Indonesia are intercepted by the Australian navy or customs and taken to Australia's Christmas Island for offshore processing.
The Australian government says its tough policy is a deterrent to people smugglers, but refugee and humanitarian groups say it has little impact on the lucrative trade.
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