Tens of Lebanese Illegal Immigrants Drown while Trying to Sail from Indonesia to Australia

by Naharnet Newsdesk 1 hour ago
27 September 2013

[SIEVX Editor's note: This has not been confirmed in Australian press as yet]

At least 60 Lebanese immigrants drowned on Friday as they attempted to sail from Indonesia to Australia, reported Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3).

It said that no more than ten people survived the trip between the two countries and the corpses of the victims began to wash ashore on one of the Indonesian islands.

VDL revealed that the victims had tasked a person, known as Abu Saleh, to ensure their safe passage to Australia in exchange for about $10,000 per person.

Their ferry sank however as it attempted to sail to Australia.

Abu Saleh has since been arrested.

Lebanese Charge d'Affaires in Indonesia Joanna Qazzi told LBCI television: “The ferry sank as a result of a malfunction and so far 15 bodies of victims from different nationalities have been recovered.”

She later added that the ferry was transporting 80 immigrants.

The National News Agency reported Friday that the majority of the victims hail from the northern region of Akkar, particularly the town of Qabeit.

It said that some 15 Lebanese families were on board the vessel that sank as it was sailing to Australia.

The reports of the sinking however have not been confirmed.

It added that the families of the immigrants had been frantically contacting loved ones abroad in order to determine the fate of those on board.

They have also urged the Foreign Ministry to contact Lebanese embassies in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia to verify the sinking.

NNA added that a number of Lebanese immigrants had been resorting to sailing to Australia from Indonesia.

Abu Ali, one of the survivors later told LBCI: “Some 73 people were on board the ferry, the majority of whom were Lebanese.”

“There are only 17 survivors,” he revealed.


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