Border Protection Command assists vessel

Media Release
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

16 July 2013

HMAS Warramunga and HMAS Albany, operating under the coordination of the Australian Maritime Safety Authorityís Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia), rescued survivors from a suspected irregular entry vessel that capsized north of Christmas Island today.

Earlier in the day, HMAS Albany, operating under the coordination of RCC Australia, attempted to render assistance to the vessel. The boarding party from HMAS Albany attempted to board the vessel to determine the nature of assistance required; however weather conditions and the size of the vessel prevented the boarding party from getting on board.

HMAS Warramunga later joined HMAS Albany in escorting the vessel to Christmas Island. While the vessel was being escorted it capsized and initial reports are a large number of people entered the water.

Under the coordination of RCC Australia, HMAS Warramunga and HMAS Albany worked quickly to rescue people from the water.

HMAS Warramunga rescued 76 people from the water and HMAS Albany rescued 68 people from the water. Tragically, four deceased persons were recovered.

A RAAF P3-Orion maritime patrol aircraft, under the coordination of RCC Australia, deployed a number of life rafts.

RCC Australia issued a shipís broadcast requesting vessels in the area to assist and tasked ACV Triton to respond to the incident at best speed.

It is believed that there were approximately 150 people on board based on an assessment of information provided by the vesselís crew. This number has been revised downwards from an initial estimate of up to 180 people.

At approximately 9.38pm AEST, RCC Australia suspended the search for survivors based on the thorough search which had been undertaken in the search area.

Media enquiries: Customs and Border Protection Media (02) 6275 6793

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