Words by: J.W Denholm
It is believed that authorities are currently escorting what is suspected to be an asylum seeker boat. The boat had made its way to within approximately 150 kilometres off the West Australian coast, near the vicinity of Dampier.
It is understood that customs and border protection officers accompanied the WA Water Police to the asylum seeker boat at around 3pm on Monday, reported Gran Wynne Channel Seven reporter.
The Water Police returned to Dampier about midnight and it is understood that an Australian Navy vessel is now escorting the boat. The boat is reportedly carrying Vietnamese citizens away from Australian waters.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection along with WA Police are not willing to comment on operational matters. The fate of those on-board is unknown at this stage.
Spokesman Ian Rintoul said in a text to the ABC that he “Can confirm there are children but no exact numbers or ages yet.”
Yesterday, the Greens criticised the level of government secrecy surrounding the boat’s arrival.
“There’s no justification for the minister and the department to keep the Australian people and the Australian Parliament in the dark,” Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.