Threat of jail for Tampa skipper
10 March 2003
THE Howard Government eavesdropped on private conversations between the captain of the Tampa, his employers, their lawyers, and possibly even the Norwegian Government, a new book claims.
This is the first time the extent of Australia's spying activity during the Tampa incident has been revealed. The Defence Signals Directorate reported directly to the Government's people-smuggling taskforce during the nine-day stand-off in August and September 2001. But the Tampa captain, Arne Rinnan, and his employers, the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Line, suspected the surveillance and played along to convey their defiance during the crisis, authors David Marr and Marian Wilkinson write in Dark Victory, which is published today. The book reveals that Captain Rinnan was threatened by Canberra with jail at least three times, including for people smuggling.
New details of the Government's illegal spying on the Tampa's communications with its lawyers are among several key revelations contained in the book, which also explores the children overboard affair and the tragic sinking of the boat known as SIEV-X.
Marr and Wilkinson also reveal: