…and they just keep coming! They don’t even need an escort, they know the way:
- ALMOST 200 asylum-seekers caught Department of Immigration and Citizenship officials by surprise yesterday when they motored into Christmas Island’s Flying Fish Cove.
But not to worry, they will all be fast-tracked:
Room for more on Christmas Island: KRudd
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the Christmas Island detention centre still has further capacity despite the arrival of another 181 asylum seekers yesterday.
The boat carrying 181 asylum seekers was intercepted last night near Christmas Island. Those on board have now been taken to the detention centre.
- Map: Christmas Island 6798
- Boat boarded carrying 181 asylum seekers
- Related Story: Christmas Is detainees ‘have nothing to complain about’
- Related Story: Opposition slams Christmas Island ‘visa factory’
Department of Immigration figures show there are now 1,628 asylum seekers, including 14 crew members, being held in the detention centre. It can house 1,848 people.
Tents and demountables are already being used to house some of the asylum seekers but Mr Rudd says there is not yet any need to take asylum seekers to the mainland.
“At present our advice is that Christmas [Island] remains the best place to accommodate people and there is still capacity there,” he told AM.
“As the Immigration Minister has said on previous occasions, there are always contingency plans in terms of the use of the purpose-built facility in Darwin. But at present capacity still remains at Christmas [Island].”
Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison says the latest arrivals will push the centre to breaking point.
“Christmas Island was already operating at unsustainable levels when I left last week,” he said.
“It is now at bursting point, with this latest illegal arrival, thanks to the failed policies of the Rudd Government.
“Kevin Rudd has created a sea highway to Christmas Island which has become a visa factory for people smugglers.”
A spokesman Immigration Minister Chris Evans has released a statement saying work is underway to increase Christmas Island’s capacity to 2,200.