Sunday, 23 June 2024  
How many of the 1500 asylum seeker lives lost at sea since 2001 could have been saved?
Zahra (6), Fatima (7) and Eman (9) - the daughters of Sondos Ismail and Ahmed Alzalimi -  three of the 146 children who lost their lives when the vessel that has become known as SIEVX foundered in international waters en route to Christmas Island on 19 October 2001.
   SIEVX Comment
   The Disaster
   Abu Quassey
   Khaleed Daoed
   Maythem Radhi
   People Smuggling
   Not the First?
   Two Brothers
   CMI Index
   Hansard Extracts
  SIEV 358-Kaniva
  SAR 2012/5710
  SAR 2013/3821
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About this site... is a comprehensive archive of all aspects of the SIEVX incident - the grossly overloaded asylum seeker vessel which foundered in the Indian Ocean en route to Australia on 19 October 2001, drowning an estimated 146 children, 142 women and 65 men. The website has been online since 2002 and contains a wealth of information, including news articles written at the time of the tragedy, the evidence and report of the Senate Committee that investigated the sinking in 2002, Parliamentary Questions on Notice from 2002 onwards, notes and articles on Abu Quassey, Khaleed Daoed and Maythem Radhi, the men who allegedly organised the smuggling venture as well a collection of audio files connected with the incident and commentary exclusive to this site.

In recent years more asylum seeker sinking tragedies have occurred and a number of boats have gone missing with all on board presumed drowned; the focus of the site has broadened to encompass these incidents.

For me the passing of time and the renewed surge of asylum seeker boats has only served to highlight the extraordinary nature of SIEVX. SIEVX was the first and remains the worst asylum seeker mass drowning tragedy in our history. Even now, eleven years after the sinking, and with more than 900 asylum seeker vessels having made their way to Australia, there has only been one other boat in the entire history of irregular maritime arrivals to Australia that carried more passengers. This boat was Palapa which was rescued by the MV Tampa in August 2001 and which also came very close to sinking. Since August 2008 when asylum seekers began again to make boat voyages from Indonesia to Australian territory, nearly 700 boats have arrived and not one of these has ever carried anything like the numbers that were on SIEVX (421) or Palapa (438). That fact alone is remarkable and worthy of questions...

There have been other mass sinking events since 2008 and tragically more than 900 lives have now been lost at sea during this time. We are adding new names to the canon of asylum seeker boat disasters - Barokah, (est. 200 lives lost), SIEV 358 (also known as Kaniva) (est.90 lives lost) and SIEV 221(which crashed on the rocks at Christmas Island drowning fifty people to the horror of the local residents who watched helplessly from the cliffs above but were unable to prevent it). Then there are the lost boats which have gone missing with a total of more than 300 passengers presumed drowned. All these lost and sunken vessels carried brave men, women and children, seeking refuge and a new life in Australia. They cast a pall on our history and haunt our imagination.

It is my intention to create a page for each of these mass drownings and lost vessels with links to FOI documents and news articles etc. The first of these is up already - SIEV 358 (Kaniva) - another sinking catastrophe over which hang many questions. A coroner's inquiry into this capsize in which around 90 lost their lives is due to commence in Western Australia next month and we will be watching closely.

Marg Hutton
29 May 2013

(Below are the previous versions of this page which I leave here as a record)

This website archives primary and secondary source material related to the SIEVX Affair and Australia's People Smuggling Disruption Program. It is also publishes occasional articles. is solely owned and maintained by Marg Hutton.

Marg Hutton has been a student of Australian history for more than 25 years. She has been independently researching the sinking of SIEVX since May 2002.

This site is proudly independent, not connected with any political party, organisation or other individual. While many people have been active on the issues, both independently and within political parties, and some of their writing is archived here, no-one speaks for or represents except its owner.

The site has been online since June 2002. is being preserved by the Pandora Archive of the National Library.

How to reference this site

If you use this website for your own research then attribution would be nice. When citing secondary material that has been copied on to this site, unless you have gone back and checked the original publication then it is wise to include the caveat 'online at URL'.

For example:

'DIMA Intelligence Note 83/2001', 23 October 2001, provided to the CMI Committee, 18 September 2002; online at (date downloaded)

If you are utilising analysis contained in original articles published on this site then attribution is essential, as for any published work.

For example:

Marg Hutton, 'SIEVX & the DFAT Cable: The Conspiracy of Silence',, May 2003; (date downloaded)


The site is grateful to everyone who has donated documents or audio tapes to this collection and transcribed articles and sound recordings. Special thanks are due to those who have generously given up their valuable time to translate articles and sound recordings, including: Helen Brooks, Jennifer Clarke, Kurniati Shinta Dewi, Claire Harding, Sue Hoffman, Made Hood's students, Petra Mahy, Ghassan Nakhoul, Helena Nyman, Margaret Pollock, Tom O'Lincoln, David Parkin and Rachel Robson.

I believe that the truth about SIEVX will not be revealed until a full powers judicial inquiry is held into this tragedy and the people smuggling disruption program operating in Indonesia at the time and hope that this archive may help in some small way to achieve that purpose.

Marg Hutton
February 2007 is a independent site that grew out of a web-log that I began earlier this year (2002).

Because of the importance of the issue I decided that it would be best to set up a separate site devoted entirely to the SIEVX Affair.

The site started out primarily as a research tool for myself in order to make sense of the CMI Inquiry. I began cataloguing all the articles I could find about SIEVX from the time the boat sank right through to the Inquiry. I've indexed all the testimony related to SIEVX. The chronology is a work in progress.

The site has no connection with any political party or organisation. It is purely independent.

Why the interest in SIEVX?

The SIEVX tragedy has captured my attention for two reasons. Firstly, when Australia started to turn around the asylum seekers boats and tow them back to Indonesia I can remember thinking that it is only a matter of time before there is loss of life on a major scale. And then a few days later news broke of the sinking of the boat that has become known as SIEVX. I was astonished at the time at how easily the Howard Government could shrug off such a disaster so close to and so intimately connected with Australia.

When Tony Kevin's questions surfaced in March and Margo Kingston began covering the case in May, I was rivetted.

The second reason for my fascination and absorption in the SIEVX Affair is its historical significance. There is no doubt that the SIEVX Affair will be written about and debated for years to come. As the Petrov Affair captured the imagination of a generation of Australian historians, so too will SIEVX.

Senators Brandis and Faulkner exchanged banter about the 'grassy knoll' at a recent sitting of the Inquiry (CMI 1914). Unless there is a full judicial inquiry into SIEVX, I believe that the questions and theories about what really happened to SIEVX will continue to grow and fester. Tony Kevin has written that SIEVX could be our Watergate. I fear that it may become our Warren Commission.

Marg Hutton
July 2002 ( 57371) | ©Copyright Marg Hutton ~ / 2002-2014