Refugees blamed fornavy errors

Issue 

Three Afghan refugees in Australia face possible charges over the explosion onboard a fishing boat off Ashmore Reef last April. Five were killed in the explosion and many more injured.

The boat, which was headed to Australia, exploded a day after the Australian navy boarded it to divert it to Christmas Island. Sections of the media made claims that refugees caused the explosion to prevent the boat being towed to Indonesia.

After a three-week inquest into the explosion, Northern Territory coroner Greg Cavanagh said he would refer the evidence to a criminal investigation.

"Then it would be up to the authorities as to what action they took", he said, reported the February 18 Sydney Morning Herald.

The inquest heard that navy errors most likely contributed to the deaths. Officers did not immediately provide life jackets to all asylum seekers and some refugees who tried to clamber aboard lifeboats were forced off by navy personnel. Despite the findings, the coroner made no specific recommendations to the Australian Defence Force.

The 42 survivors were granted refugee status and permanent protection visas in October.

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.