Who named 'SIEVX'?
Marg Hutton
zarook.com (blog)
18 June 2002

Reading back through the various Senate Committee transcripts related to SIEVX I noticed that there was a discussion in FAD&T on 4 June, regarding who was responsible for naming the ill-fated boat 'SIEVX':

Senator FAULKNER- ...The first thing I want to ask just as background. The nomenclature SIEVX: could the Navy assist me with how that was determined?

Rear Adm. Ritchie-I think that was generated by the Senate committee. It is not a SIEV, as far as we are concerned.

Senator FAULKNER-I was not sure whether that came from us or came from-

Rear Adm. Ritchie-I think it came from you.

Senator FAULKNER-It became unclear. Everyone has adopted the terminology and I know that we started using the terminology.

Rear Adm. Ritchie-It may have even come from the press.

Senator FAULKNER-I do not think that is the case. I thought there were two possibilities: the Navy or our committee. I have asked that question of someone who I thought might know and they were not sure, so I thought you might know. But it is terminology or nomenclature that is used now within Navy, isn't it?

Rear Adm. Ritchie-I would accept that it is the nomenclature that is used to describe this particular incident.

Well I've done some digging and here is what I've found. The first mention of 'SIEVX' in the CMI transcript is by Clive Davidson, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Maritime Safety Authority on 1 May:

AMSA also had a minor involvement, after the event, in the case of the vessel that has become known as SIEVX, which was reported to have foundered on 19 October last year in Indonesian waters.

The first public reference to 'SIEVX' that I can find is by Tony Kevin, the instigator of the SIEVX inquiry, in his first article about the disaster in the Canberra Times on 25 March:

THE sinking 80km south of Java of an unnamed asylum-seeker vessel bound for Christmas Island let's call it SIEV-X for convenience about 2pm on Friday, October 19, became world news on Tuesday, October 23.

The SIEVX Affair has gained a lot of momentum in the last week with the publication of the leaked minutes of the People Smuggling Taskforce showing that the boat had a name and was in fact a SIEV, and that it was reported to have foundered in international waters.

Yesterday Greg Ansley published the first article on the incident to appear in a newspaper outside of Australia:


Late last year, with an election just weeks away and an apparently unending armada of refugee boats sailing from Indonesia, did Australian officials condemn 353 people to death?

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