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  1. #1
    Mid
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    Australia turns back refugee boat

    Australia turns back refugee boat
    Tue Jan 7, 2014

    Australian navy has turned at least one asylum-seeker boat back to Indonesia, as part of the government’s tough immigration policies in dealing with refugees and asylum seekers.

    The Australian Broadcasting Corporation said on Tuesday that the boatload of about 47 refugees was forced to return to Indonesian waters in mid-December.

    The broadcaster went on to say that the vessel then ran out of fuel and went aground on Rote Island, reportedly on December 19.

    Australian and Indonesian sources have confirmed the report, saying the turn-back was conducted by the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Stuart.

    Meanwhile, Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has refused to make comments on the report.

    “For operational security reasons, the government does not disclose, confirm or otherwise comment on reports of on-water activities in relation to Operation Sovereign Borders,” Morrison stated.

    Operation Sovereign Borders is Australia’s military-led plan to prevent smugglers bringing asylum seekers to the country from Indonesia, usually on rickety fishing boat.

    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott had earlier pledged to turn back any asylum-seeker vessels when it is safe to do so - a measure which has outraged the Indonesian government.

    “Such a move constitutes violation of Indonesia’s sovereignty,” the Indonesian government has said.

    However, Morrison has said that Australia “respects Indonesia’s territorial sovereignty and will continue to do so... It is not the policy or practice of the Australian government to violate Indonesian territorial sovereignty. Any suggestion to the contrary is false.”

    Australia has become a desired destination for Asian immigrants who are seeking a better life. However, over the years, hundreds of them have lost their lives because their overcrowded boats were capsized in rough waters.

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  2. #2
    Mid
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    Government mulls lifeboats plan for intercepted asylum seekers
    David Wroe
    January 8, 2014

    Asylum seekers intercepted on unseaworthy boats could be sent back to Indonesia on large, engine-powered lifeboats, in an escalation of the Abbott government’s turn-back policy.

    Fairfax Media has learnt the government is buying up to 16 hard-hulled lifeboats – similar to those carried by cruiseships and oil tankers – to which asylum seekers can be transferred and returned to Indonesia if their own vessels are unseaworthy.

    Illustration: Matt Golding

    The revelations came as Indonesian police said Australia had turned back two asylum-seeker boats in recent weeks, prompting Jakarta to once again voice its condemnation of the policy.

    Defence sources said the purchase of lifeboats was designed to thwart the tactic of using rickety fishing vessels and sabotaging them at sea, leaving Australian border protection authorities no choice but to rescue them.

    When a boat is intercepted, the asylum-seekers could be transferred on to the lifeboats close to Indonesian waters with enough fuel and supplies to reach land.


    Staying silent over lifeboats: Scott Morrison.
    Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

    The high-visibility, engine-powered lifeboats, which have roofs, can carry dozens of passengers, and food and water for at least a week.

    In a stand-off at sea in November, Indonesia refused to take back an asylum-seeker vessel on the grounds that it was unseaworthy.

    Immigration Minister Scott Morrison refused to confirm or deny the purchase of the lifeboats, citing the need to "protect the security of our operations".

    Labor's acting immigration spokesman Mark Dreyfus described the lack of government information about the Coalition's boats policy as ''shameful''.
    ''I can't make anything of the [lifeboats] idea because Australians are being left to guess at what the Australian government's doing in our name,'' he told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

    ''That is not acceptable.''Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the lifeboat reports showed the government's asylum-seeker policy had failed.
    ''I think this just shows what tatters Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott's policy is in,'' Senator Hanson-Young told ABC Radio.

    ''First we heard they were going to stop the boats, then they said we'll buy back the boats, now they're going to start giving away boats.''

    The Abbott government also maintained its silence over claims that Australia had turned back at least one asylum-seeker boat to Indonesia in recent weeks, in a move that could increase tensions.

    A Defence source confirmed to Fairfax Media reports in the Indonesian press that a boat had been turned back. The source said the frigate HMAS Stuart carried out the turn-back in the past week.

    The asylum seekers aboard the boat were given life jackets and communications equipment.

    Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, while refusing to comment on any turn-backs, repeated Jakarta’s general condemnation of the policy on Tuesday.

    "The policy itself, the so-called tow-back (policy) – let me put it once more on the record: our rejection of such policy is because it’s not a conducive and comprehensive solution to the issue," he said.

    Indonesian water police told Fairfax Media that two boats had been turned back, one on Monday and one on December 19. The sources said a boat turned back on Monday carried 45 passengers, 36 male and nine female, mostly from Africa though with several from the Middle East. Another boat turned back just before Christmas carried 48 asylum seekers from Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea and Iran.

    Both were found at Rote Island, Indonesia’s southernmost point.

    Rote police chief Hidayat told Fairfax Media: "The asylum seekers’ boat was stranded near a small village called Lengu Tepu, around 4am yesterday ... They were rescued by the locals, because the boat engines were dead. The boat now is a wreckage, near some reefs."

    Dr Natalegawa said he believed relations between Australia and Indonesia would return to normal following stoushes over asylum seekers and revelations that Australian spies targeted the phones of senior Indonesian leaders.

    smh.com.au


    ..................................



    youtube.com

  3. #3
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    Australia is going to look like the big bad wolf again while corrupt Indonesia continues to act as a hub for people (wealthy enough to afford passage) smuggling. Refugees my arse.

  4. #4
    Mid
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    Quote Originally Posted by smh.com.au

    Fairfax Media has learnt the government is buying up to 16 hard-hulled lifeboats – similar to those carried by cruiseships and oil tankers – to which asylum seekers can be transferred and returned to Indonesia if their own vessels are unseaworthy.
    On behalf of the Indonesian Government and people my I thank the Australians for their kind donation of 16 new ( OK used once ) lifeboats .

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    On behalf of the Indonesian Government and people my I thank the Australians for their kind donation of 16 new ( OK used once ) lifeboats .
    Yeah these scum use the clever tactic of smuggling the relatively wealthy queue jumpers on rickety old boats to make it look more genuine, and in return they get our good lifeboats. Still, better and cheaper option that letting them in.

  6. #6
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    Shoot the bastards!












    and the refugees

  7. #7
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    doing the breast stroke

    see the greens are up in arms over this,they seem to think anyone who lands
    in a boat should be welcomed with open arms and a open cheque book
    from the goverment to support them
    also the goverment said today there will be no family reunion visas.
    stuff the indonesians, they are crewed and flagged indonesian boats so they can
    have them back with a lifeboat if need be.

  8. #8
    I don't know barbaro's Avatar
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    Pretty ridiculous on that part of these "refugees."

    Let's try to get intercepted, rescued, arrested, or allowed into a foreign country illegally.

    If the US did this I could see the cries of "racism!" "cruelty" and "barbarism!"

  9. #9
    I am in Jail
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    Send the Thai navy to protect the mainland, Oz would pay well so everyone's happy except those that shouldn't be where they are.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    The high-visibility, engine-powered lifeboats, which have roofs, can carry dozens of passengers, and food and water for at least a week.
    Sounds like a very humane solution.

  11. #11
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    Asylum seekers describe boat tow back
    Peter Lloyd reported this story on Wednesday, January 8, 2014

    BRENDAN TREMBATH: Asylum seekers who were onboard two boats towed back to Indonesia by the Australian Navy say they were mistreated and denied food and water to stymie any further attempt at reaching Australia.

    They say they were towed for days and abandoned in the middle of the night near isolated Indonesian territory.

    Speaking by phone from Kupang in Indonesia, two men from two separate journeys have been describing their experiences to the media for the first time.

    Though difficult to verify, both men's stories are strikingly similar.

    Peter Lloyd has this exclusive report.

    PETER LLOYD: Yusuf is Sudanese. He says he and his wife paid $6,000 to travel from Indonesia to Australia. They left four days before Christmas.

    On New Year's Day, he says the boat reached a small island 37 nautical miles from Darwin when the engine broke down.

    YUSUF: We landed down on one island. We called UN. We gave the information to UN just because our engine is not good. We can't continue our journey to Darwin.

    Then UN people, they called navy of army of Australia. They came with one boat. The number of the boat: 154. And the other ship, the big ship, also is 96.

    PETER LLOYD: Those numbers correlate with the vessel numbers for HMAS Parramatta and HMAS Glenelg.

    Yusuf says the people on his boat were transferred onto one of the navy ships, some by force.

    YUSUF: Some of our people, they jump on the water as a protest. Nine people. And then they take them aboard and then they beat them and they would, were hung on their hands. And anyhow, they used that by an inhuman way.

    PETER LLOYD: It was the start of a tow-back that was to last five days. During the journey back, those onboard had been denied their satellite and navigation tools by navy personnel and they were told something different about their destination.

    YUSUF: We asked them, "Where do you take us?" They told us that they are taking us to the Christmas Island.

    PETER LLOYD: Finally, in the early hours of Monday, they arrived just off remote Indonesian Rote Island.

    YUSUF: In the night time, like 3am in the morning, they left us and at that time there is a big wave and storm and rain, all of them together, and our engine even does not work. So we are there and we don't know any direction, we don't have any information, we don't know any place how to go.

    We stopped there until the morning and we tried to move but our engine was very bad. We found a mountain in front of us. It was island. So it was very near, like four hours, not very far. We arrived there and then we land down there, we found some Indonesian people. They help us.

    Some people they're sick. Some people they have some problem in the water more than 15 days. That's why they help us, the Indonesian people. And now we are with immigration.

    PETER LLOYD: Yusuf says he's speaking on behalf of others onboard his boat. This is what they want to tell the Australian people:

    YUSUF: What we want, what we want, first of all we need: so if there is some people, some lawyer, they ask on our case, they take them to the court. This is what we want, if someone would like to help us.

    PETER LLOYD: Yusuf's account is similar to a story told by Marke, who identified himself as Somali. He was onboard the first boat towed back to Indonesian territory on the 10th of December.

    Marke claims there was some rough handling of asylum seekers by personnel from HMAS Parramatta and HMAS Maitland.

    MARKE: Yeah. Not just punching me but they punch all people, people who were complaining. People who stated, "We are not going to head back to Indonesia," we said.

    PETER LLOYD: Neither the Prime Minister Tony Abbott, nor Immigration Minister Scott Morrison have ever been willing to describe what a tow-back operation involves.

    Marke's was the first asylum seeker vessel to experience it. It is a simple roping manoeuvre, followed by a tactical deception about their destination.

    MARKE: Ah, put a rope. They put a rope. Then they said, "We are going to Australia, to Christmas Island." They told us a lie.

    PETER LLOYD: A few days later Marke and his fellow asylum seekers were put back onto their boat.

    MARKE: When we reach, when we were nearby the island of Indonesia, they just start our machine. They fix one of our machines. They start our machine. They say, "Go. You can land over there. It's about 15 kilometres." And then they seemed to run away and disappeared.

    BRENDAN TREMBATH: That's Somali man Marke, speaking from Kupang in Indonesia. He was describing the experience of being onboard a boat with asylum seekers when they were towed back to Indonesia.

    Peter Lloyd reporting.

    The Immigration Minister's office has released a statement which reads: "For operational security reasons, the Government does not disclose, confirm or otherwise comment on reports of on-water activities in relation to Operation Sovereign Borders."

    xxx.xxx.xx

  12. #12
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    So when You try proper Channels you get blocked for having a U.K passport and equity.
    Jump the que by being an unwanted,and hey Prestow ,magic que jump the que.
    Same problem in U.K
    I get thoroughly checked by the U.K passport control because of My Thai Wife,yet on the same Ferry from France to the U.K are illegals stowed away on board cargo trucks.

  13. #13
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    What did they expect? Can't be landing on foreign shore unless you have a proper flag.


  14. #14
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    Yes and what do You have under that Flag? A great country,quality of life. The rest of the medieval world wants a slice.
    Those flag raises did a quality job.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    Yusuf is Sudanese. He says he and his wife paid $6,000 to travel from Indonesia to Australia.
    mmmm poor down trodden refugees with $6K to toss about on a gamble at a second life.

    Australia has taken in a shitload of genuine Sundanese refugees. Brisbane is crawling with them. Queue jumpers for sho

  16. #16
    Mid
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    UN warns Australia over reportedly turning away refugee boats
    January 11, 2014

    Geneva (AFP) - The UN refugee agency warned Australia on Friday that it could be breaking international law, amid reports it rejected boats carrying asylum-seekers.

    Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the UN high commissioner for refugees, said the agency wanted an explanation after reports that the Australian navy forced boats back, and plans to buy more vessels to bolster such operations.

    "UNHCR would be concerned by any policy or practice that involved pushing asylum-seeker boats back at sea without a proper consideration of individual needs for protection," Edwards told reporters, saying it was still seeking details from the government.

    "Any such approach would raise significant issues and potentially place Australia in breach of its obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention and other international law obligations," he added.

    Australia's conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who won power in September after campaigning to "stop the boats", has introduced the military-led Operation Sovereign Borders to crack down on asylum seekers coming by boat.

    Indonesia says Australia has turned back at least one boat carrying asylum seekers to its shores, although The Australian newspaper said as many as five have been secretly returned.

    "As past experience has shown, such practices are operationally difficult and potentially dangerous for all concerned," Edwards said.

    On Friday, Abbott likened the fight against people smugglers to war. The government has declined to reveal details of the boat incidents.

    It has also refused to confirm or deny that it is planning to buy 16 hard-hulled lifeboats to ferry asylum seekers to Indonesia.

    Australia's tough policies have irked Jakarta, which has warned that turning boats back could breach Indonesian sovereignty, feeding into existing diplomatic spats.

    Over the past decade, UNHCR has repeatedly crossed swords with Australian governments of all political stripes, including Abbott's Labor Party predecessors who also backed tough measures.

    Australia argues that is on the front line of a wave of illegal immigration and needs to step up the fight against people smugglers who try to bring people in, often on unseaworthy wooden vessels heading from Indonesia.

    It insists that tough measures are needed to discourage illegal immigrants, and that genuine asylum seekers get a fair hearing.

    Australia's policy of sending arrivals to Papua New Guinea and Nauru pending asylum hearings has faced criticism from UNHCR and rights groups over conditions in camps there and the lengthy process, but like previous administrations, Abbot defended it.

    au.news.yahoo.com

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    What is the UN stance on Indonesian corruption and them acting as a hub to ferry cashed up 'asylum seekers' Australia's way via pay offs to mafia, government and such?

  18. #18
    Mid
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    Indonesia criticizes Australian use of lifeboats
    Jan 16, 2014

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Indonesia’s foreign minister on Thursday criticized Australia’s decision to acquire lifeboats that will reportedly be used to send asylum seekers found aboard unseaworthy vessels back to Indonesian ports.

    Australian officials on Wednesday confirmed that lifeboats had been acquired as part of a strategy to stop people smugglers from sending asylum seekers to Australian shores in rickety boats, mostly from Indonesian ports. But officials won’t say what the lifeboats will be used for.

    Australia’s tougher stance on asylum seekers has become an irritant in relations with Indonesia.

    Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa has previously criticized an Australia policy of turning back asylum seeker boats to Indonesia as a contravention of Indonesian sovereignty.

    He told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio on Thursday that providing asylum seekers with boats to reach Indonesian ports was worse.

    “It’s one thing to turn back the actual boats on which they have been traveling, but (it’s) another issue when they have actually been transferred to another boat and are actually … being told to go in that direction,” Natalegawa said.

    “This is the kind of slippery slope that we have identified in the past. Where will this lead to?” he added.

    Natalegawa declined to say what action his government might take in response.

    Fairfax Media newspaper reported last week that Australia was buying 16 engine-powered and enclosed lifeboats — similar to those carried by cruise ships and oil tankers — for border protection boats to carry as an alternative to rescuing asylum seekers found in unseaworthy vessels.

    Crews on boats smuggling people often resort to sabotaging engines or sinking their vessels to avoid their ships being turned back to Indonesia by Australian border protection crews.

    asiancorrespondent.com

  19. #19
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    “It’s one thing to turn back the actual boats on which they have been traveling, but (it’s) another issue when they have actually been transferred to another boat and are actually … being told to go in that direction,”
    Shades of Mutiny on the Bounty. "Off you go Blythe. Happy sailing."

  20. #20
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    Gotta say if it is a case of people paying to get to indonesia, then paying large sums to pretend to be refugees, I'm wioth Australia on this one.

    Enough is enough.

    Tell the UN to sling one..... give the UN a bat and send Brett Lee or MJ after them.

    All good sport.

  21. #21
    ENT
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    Indonesia does nothing to discourage those Ozzy bound asylum seekers from leaving Indo, they don't want them, so Oz sending them back to Indo's a slap in the face of their corrupt maritime authorities.

    I reckon Oz has the right policy in place to deal with the boat people now, but gratuitous violence offered to any of those asylum seekers is a total no-no.

    How substantiable the claims of violence are is anybody's guess.

  22. #22
    Mid
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    Navy can fire to turn back boats
    Nick Butterly
    January 17, 2014


    Escalation of force: The Navy can fire across the bows of asylum boats.
    Picture: Supplied

    The Royal Australian Navy has been authorised to fire over the bows of asylum-seeker boats as part of "escalation of force" measures to turn back boats to Indonesia.

    But the Federal Government has denied Indonesian police claims that an Australian navy vessel fired into the air during the interception of asylum seekers within sight of Christmas Island this month.

    Asylum seekers say Navy gave them boat

    An unnamed Indonesian police officer told Fairfax Media the navy fired gunshots while attempting to turn back a boat carrying 25 people.

    Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said yesterday the claims were not true.

    "Without commenting on any specific alleged incident, I can confirm that no shots have been fired at any time by any persons involved in Operation Sovereign Borders since the operation commenced," Mr Morrison said.

    Though the shooting has been denied, it is understood the navy is authorised to fire shots out in front of asylum boats if they fail to respond to repeated warnings to turn back to Indonesia.

    In 2001, the frigate HMAS Adelaide fired warning shots well ahead of an asylum vessel after those aboard failed to respond to repeated warnings to turn back.

    Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the Government should drop the secrecy around its border protection regime.

    "I don't want to see servicemen and women caught up as the meat in an Abbott-Morrison secrecy sandwich," Mr Shorten said.

    _The West Australian _revealed last week that the Government had bought a number of big, powered lifeboats to send back asylum seekers who might arrive in unseaworthy vessels.

    But Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa yesterday warned Australia could be fuelling people smuggling to Indonesia if Canberra was paying for boats to send asylum seekers back.

    "It's one thing to turn back the actual boats on which they have been travelling but another issue when they are transferred on to another boat and facilitated and told to go in that direction," Dr Natalegawa said.

    Last night, A group of asylum seekers say they were given a boat by Australian authorities in which they were forced to return to Indonesia under their own steam after their own vessel’s engine failed.

    The development appears to be confirmation that Australian border-protection authorities have begun using lifeboats to return asylum-seekers to Indonesia, after the commander of Operation Sovereign Borders confirmed on Wednesday that a number of such vessels had been acquired.

    One asylum seeker has told AAP he was with about 50 others from Bangladesh and Pakistan when they were intercepted close to Christmas Island about 10 days ago, after their boat’s engine stopped working.

    The man, from Bangladesh, who spoke through a translator, said they were then transferred to an Australian navy vessel, where they remained for several days, before being escorted back towards Indonesia.

    They were then given a smaller boat that they used to make their own way to Pelabuuhan Ratu in West Java, which they say took about three hours.

    The smaller boat was crewed by by the same Indonesian men that had attempted to take the asylum seekers to Christmas Island.

    The group arrived at Pelabuuhan Ratu, about 12 hours drive from Jakarta, at about 11am on Wednesday morning.

    It’s believed they could be from a group of about 54 asylum seekers from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma who had reportedly set out for Christmas Island on about January 5 or 6.

    au.news.yahoo.com

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    Australia apologises to Jakarta for territorial waters breach
    David Crowe
    January 17, 2014


    The government has apologised to Indonesia after Australian authorities breached Indonesian waters.


    Immigration minister Scott Morrison says the navy 'inadvertently' breached Indonesian territorial waters while conducting border protection operations.

    JAKARTA has warned that relations with Canberra could worsen after Australia admitted navy ships strayed into Indonesian territorial waters during asylum-seeker missions.

    The Abbott government has issued an "unqualified'' apology to Indonesia after the navy's "inadvertent'' breach, in which one or more ships went into Indonesian waters without official permission as they dealt with asylum-seekers.

    A spokesman for Indonesia's Co-ordinating Minister for Politics, Security and Law, Djoko Suyanto, said the development was regrettable, while warning it would have implications for already tense relations between Jakarta and Canberra.

    "If they entered Indonesian waters like that, this will only worsen the situation and the relationship between Indonesia and Australia,'' Agus Barnas said.

    "Australia's attitude in this if they really breached the Indonesian sovereign territory is regrettable. As a good neighbour, Australia should respect Indonesia's sovereignty.''

    He said the incident could delay a rapprochement between the countries following Jakarta's decision late last year to freeze co-operation with Australia in the wake of the spying row.

    "If what the Australian navy did is true, that would only worsen the Indonesia-Australia relationship,'' he said.

    "It could hamper the normalisation of the Indonesia-Australia relationship.''

    A spokesman said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had been briefed on reports of the breaches, but added: "What we need is formal notification."

    Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the government had received information on Wednesday afternoon that Australian authorities had entered Indonesian waters on several occasions, in breach of Australian government policy.

    "This was done unintentionally and without knowledge or sanction by the Australian government,'' he told reporters in Canberra.

    Mr Morrison said it was not Australia's policy to violate Indonesia's territorial sovereignty.

    "It's regrettable and we have made the appropriate apologies,'' he said in Canberra.

    Details of the incursions, including which vessels were involved and when the events occurred, are being reviewed by the Chief of the Defence Force David Hurley and Australian Customs and Border Protection Command.

    There is no deadline on the review and Mr Morrison would not say if it would be publicly released, arguing he did not want to be "prescriptive'' to military staff.

    It was not revealed how many navy vessels were involved in the breach of Indonesia's 12-nautical mile limit, when the events occurred or how far the vessels went into Indonesian waters.

    Mr Morrison also declined to say whether the navy ships were in the process of turning back asylum-seeker vessels when the breaches occurred.

    Diplomatic ties were already under pressure after claims Australian intelligence officers tapped the mobile phone of Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife and senior government members.

    Mr Morrison said Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had offered an "unqualified apology" to her Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa, although he was travelling and unable to receive the message personally.

    However, the apology was sent and a more formal apology would be provided to the Indonesian government via the Australian embassy in Indonesia.

    "The Australian government takes our shared commitment with Indonesia to mutually respect the sovereignty of each nation very, very seriously,'' Mr Morrison said.

    Steps had been taken to ensure such breaches would not occur again, he said.

    Operation Sovereign Borders commander Lieutenant General Angus Campbell said he was advised of the breach on Wednesday afternoon after a routine report was examined by a border command official.

    He said navy personnel did not know they had breached Indonesian waters at the time.

    "I am, and I am sure all those involved in the conduct of Operation Sovereign Borders regret any affront to Indonesia these events may have occurred,'' he said.

    "I'm determined such events won't occur again,'' General Campbell said.

    He did not think it was ``appropriate'' to speculate on how the incident might have occurred, saying it was a matter for the review.

    "In the interim I have put in place some measures that will act as an opportunity to ensure there is no error occurring until we get the results of that review,'' he said.

    "I am very comfortable there are active controls to ensure our vessels do not cause such mistakes, or have such mistakes, in the future.''

    However, his comments made it clear there were several incidents on different days in which Indonesian sovereignty was breached.

    Asked if the incidents went back several weeks, General Campbell said that was a matter for the review.

    He said he was not aware of any notification from Indonesian authorities about the incidents, suggesting the mistakes were detected by Australian officials instead.

    Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says the government needs to stop blaming the navy and take responsibility for its own border protection policy.

    "This is incredibly serious,'' Mr Shorten said, adding it was "poor form'' for Mr Morrison to blame the navy for his failings.

    "These service men and women do an extremely tough job under very difficult circumstances and they shouldn't be blamed for the failings of the Abbott government and its policies,'' Mr Shorten said.

    Australian Greens immigration spokeswoman Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the government could not be trusted, because two days ago the minister said this type of breach of sovereignty of Indonesia would not occur.

    "This is just pure arrogance and shiftiness from the Abbott government. They've been caught out, they're begging for forgiveness, yet they refuse to accept that Indonesia is saying no way to the new boat-swap policy.''

    The apology comes after confirmation to The Australian that border-protection authorities have begun using lifeboats to return asylum-seekers to Indonesia, a method used for a boatload of people intercepted near Christmas Island last week.

    The government has refused to comment on whether Operation Sovereign Borders has involved towing back or turning back boats into Indonesian waters, or whether lifeboats are being used to do so.

    However a group of asylum-seekers say they were given a boat by Australian authorities -apparently a lifeboat - in which they were forced to return to Indonesia under their own steam after their own vessel's engine failed.

    The development appears to confirm Australian border-protection authorities have begun using lifeboats to return asylum-seekers to Indonesia, after General Campbell confirmed that a number of such vessels had been acquired.

    One asylum-seeker said he was with about 50 others from Bangladesh and Pakistan when they were intercepted close to Christmas Island about 10 days ago, after their boat's engine stopped working.

    The man, from Bangladesh, who spoke through a translator, said they were then transferred to an Australian navy vessel, where they remained for several days, before being escorted back towards Indonesia.

    They were then given a smaller boat that they used to make their own way to Pelabuuhan Ratu in West Java, which they say took about three hours.

    The smaller boat was crewed by the same Indonesian men that had attempted to take the asylum seekers to Christmas Island.

    The group arrived at Pelabuuhan Ratu, about 12 hours drive from Jakarta, at about 11am on Wednesday morning.

    It's believed they could be from a group of about 54 asylum seekers from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar who had reportedly set out for Christmas Island on about January 5 or 6.

    theaustralian.com.au

  24. #24
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    Indonesia issues, then withdraws statement on violations by Australia
    (Writing by Jonathan Thatcher; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)
    Friday January 17, 2014

    JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia issued a statement on Friday saying that it deeply regretted breaches of its territory by the Australian navy, but later withdrew the document for what it said were some corrections.

    An official at the security and politcal affairs coordinating ministry did not say what was wrong with the original statement, calling it an unofficial version.

    Earlier on Friday, Australia apologised for the recent incursions.

    The withdrawn statement had said: "We deeply regret the occurrence of these territorial violations."

    thestar.com.my

  25. #25
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    REVISED INDONESIAN STATEMENT ASKS AUSTRALIA TO SUSPEND OPERATIONS OVER ASYLUM SEEKERS THAT MIGHT LEAD TO MORE TERRITORIAL VIOLATIONS
    January 17, 2014

    REVISED INDONESIAN STATEMENT ASKS AUSTRALIA TO SUSPEND
    OPERATIONS OVER ASYLUM SEEKERS THAT MIGHT LEAD TO MORE
    TERRITORIAL VIOLATIONS

    chicagotribune.com

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