Concerns as another asylum seeker boat goes missing

June 11, 2013 - 5:41PM
Judith Ireland

Concerns are held for another asylum seeker boat, which is believed to be missing off the coast of Cocos Islands.

Two planes are currently searching the area about 260 nautical miles north of the islands for a boat that was first spotted last Wednesday.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority issued a distress broadcast to shipping on Sunday evening and an aerial search began on Monday morning.

An AMSA spokeswoman said there were no details about the current state of the boat or the number of people on board.

An air force plane operating under Border Protection Command spotted the boat making its way towards Christmas Island on Wednesday. Concerns were raised when the boat did not arrive.

This is the fourth boat that Australian authorities have assisted since the weekend. Apart from the boat that sank late last week, carrying an estimated 55 people, navy boats have provided assistance to two other vessels, carrying about 58 and 70 people. Those on board the last two boats were found alive and were due to arrive on Christmas Island on Tuesday.

None of the bodies from last week's boat sinking have been recovered.

Customs and Border Protection said on Tuesday that its planes and boats were still involved in other "high priority operations."

"If operations permit, Border Protection Command will, where it remains feasible and without further risk to life, endeavour to recover any bodies which may be relocated," a spokeswoman said.


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