[Extracted from Senate Hansard, 9 September 2003, pp.14754-5]

Immigration: SIEV X
(Question No. 1638)

Senator Jacinta Collins asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 17 July 2003:

With reference to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) response to Senator Collins' question on notice 58, from the additional estimates hearings of the Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee in November 2002, in which it was indicated by the AFP that assistance was sought of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) personnel at Post to calculate where the vessel (SIEV X) may have foundered:

(1) What was the outcome of the RAN's investigation into calculating where the SIEV X sank.

(2) (a) What was the information that the RAN obtained about the company believed to have owned SIEV X; and (b) can the RAN name that company.

(3) Did the RAN, when attempting to calculate where the SIEV X foundered, also take into account the North Jakarta Harbourmaster's report of the SIEV X survivor rescue coordinates dated 24 October 2001 (10241530 G); if not, why not.

(4) Did the RAN or any other Australian agency, whilst investigating where the SIEV X had foundered, ever interview the Harbourmaster at the Sunda Kelapa Port, North Jakarta; if so what was the outcome of this interview; if not, why not.

(5) If the Harbourmaster's coordinates have not been fully investigated by the AFP, how then can the AFP claim 'all avenues of enquiry have been exhausted' with regard to calculating where 'SIEV foundered.

Senator Hill-The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) There has been no Royal Australian Navy (RAN) investigation into calculating where SIEV X sank. RAN personnel in Jakarta at the time provided input to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) on where it was thought SIEV X might have gone down, based on timings given by the AFP of the most likely time and place of departure. No precise position was given because of the many variables involved, which include time spent offloading passengers, tidal stream, wind, the vessels speed and sea state.

(2) There were no RAN investigations into the owner of SIEV X.

(3) No. The Harbourmaster's report of 24 October 2001 did not exist on 22 October 2001.

(4) No. It was an Indonesian National Police matter. Defence does not know if other Australian agencies interviewed the Harbourmaster.

(5) This is a question for the AFP, not Defence.

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