News / Asia

Asylum Boat Sinks Off Indonesian Coast

A survivor, centers, is given assistance as a search and rescue operation continues in Cidaun, West Java, after an Australia-bound boat sank off the Indonesian coast, July 24, 2013.
A survivor, centers, is given assistance as a search and rescue operation continues in Cidaun, West Java, after an Australia-bound boat sank off the Indonesian coast, July 24, 2013.
VOA News
Indonesia says the death toll from the latest sinking of a boat carrying asylum seekers bound for Australia has risen to nine as authorities continue searching for survivors.
 
Indonesian police said Wednesday nine bodies have been recovered from the waters off the coast of West Java province, where the overloaded boat sank the day before, several hours after departing from a fishing village.
 
  • Rescue workers walk along the beach as they search for suspected asylum seekers who were on a boat that capsized, Sukapura beach in West Java, Indonesia, July 25, 2013.
  • A suspected asylum seeker cries after finding out about the death of her husband, at Jayanti beach clinic in West Java, Indonesia, July 24, 2013.
  • Fishermen hold bodies of children who were suspected asylum seekers on a boat that capsized after hitting a reef, July 24, 2013.
  • A rescuer carries a child after a boat carrying asylum seekers sank off West Java, Indonesia, July 24, 2013. 
  • Suspected asylum seekers that were on a boat that capsized July 23 after hitting a reef, arrive at Jayanti beach, West Java province, Indonesia, July 24, 2013. 
  • Suspected asylum seekers who were on a boat that capsized July 23, 2013, after hitting a reef, sit at a temporary shelter near Jayanti beach, West Java, Indonesia, July 24, 2013. 
  • Rescuers carry the body of a victim killed after a boat carrying asylum seekers sank off West Java, Indonesia, July 24, 2013. 
  • A police officer carries a child who appears to be unconscious after a boat carrying asylum seekers sank off  West Java, Indonesia, July 24, 2013. 

At least 200 people had crowded onto the small vessel when it started taking in water while navigating in strong winds. Indonesian fishermen and other rescuers found 189 people in the sea and brought them to the nearby village of Cidaun. Authorities also searched for missing passengers.
 
Most of the asylum seekers were from Sri Lanka. Others included Iranians and Iraqis. They were hoping to reach Australia's Christmas Island, several hundred kilometers to the south.
 
Australia toughened its policy on asylum seekers last week, saying those who try to arrive by boat will be sent to its neighbor, Papua New Guinea, and resettled in the impoverished nation even if granted refugee status. Human rights groups have criticized the new policy as cruel.
 
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Wednesday the move sends what he called a "very clear message to people smugglers" that any asylum seekers they bring to his nation will "not be settled" there.
 
Rudd has been under domestic pressure to stop the influx, with more than 15,000 asylum seekers sailing to Australia this year. His government has said many of them are economic migrants.
 
Hundreds of asylum seekers have drowned in recent years trying to make the crossing from Indonesia to Australia in flimsy boats operated by people smugglers. Canberra has said it wants to deter people from risking the journey.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs