One asylum-seeker helped ashore from HMAS Bathurst with heart trouble

Paige Taylor
The Australian
February 04, 2014 12:00AM

IMMIGRATION Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that a second asylum-seeker has been brought ashore for medical treatment during a secret operation off Christmas Island involving the navy, Customs and an orange lifeboat similar to those used for turnbacks.

By late yesterday there were four Australian ships - Customs and navy - taking part in what Mr Morrison described on Friday as "a current operation".

He has not revealed how many asylum-seekers were or are still on the Australian vessels hovering off the island, but one male asylum-seeker was photographed by The Australian being helped ashore from the HMAS Bathurst last Friday with heart trouble.

Residents said they believed another asylum-seeker was rushed on to the jetty about 2am yesterday.

Mr Morrison told radio station 2GB a second person had been brought on to the island for treatment.

"We've had two persons transferred in the last couple of days for medical reasons but no boat has got here," he said.

Yesterday was the fifth day in a row that the lifeboat was seen being towed by the Customs vessel Triton off Christmas Island. Concern is building among refugee advocates for the asylum-seekers they believe are being held onboard the Australian ships as part of preparations to put them on the orange lifeboat back to Indonesia.

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