The fake news media is trying to deflect from the invaders to irrelevant items like “illegal fishing vessel” and the boiler plate “crocodile infested waters” which local journo’s have long flogged to death.
SEARCH crews have told The Courier-Mail that 15 suspected illegal arrivals have been detained, but the skipper and first mate remain on the run in the Daintree.
Peter Michael, Chris Clarke, The Courier-Mail
Asylum-seekers on the run in the Daintree Rainforest
Michael McKenna The Australian August 25, 2015
More than two dozen people aboard a Vietnamese fishing vessel that sank at the mouth of the Daintree River, in north Queensland, are being hunted by authorities in the world famous rainforest.
North Queensland police have confirmed that a search is underway to track down the suspected illegal immigrants who waded through croc-infested waters after the vessel sunk earlier today.
Eleven people have been detained, with up to thirty more still on the run. One person has identified himself as a Vietnamese taxi driver, with others refusing so far to disclose their identities.
A spokesman for the department of Home Affairs issued a statement just before 7pm, saying 11 people had now been detained.
Australian Border Force and Queensland Police Service officers are still conducting a manhunt of the rainforest.
“The ABF is currently responding to what we believe to be an illegal fishing vessel in the vicinity of Daintree River,’’ the spokesman said in a statement.
“The ABF now has a contingent of officers on site and is grateful for the support provided by Queensland Police Service.
“We can confirm that 11 people have been located.
“The first priority is to confirm the safety and welfare of the people on the fishing vessel.’’
No. The first priority is to ensure the safety and welfare of the Australian people.
Daintree River Fishing operator Dave Patterson told The Australian that he spotted the “junk-like’’ vessel of Cape Kimberley, near the mouth of the Daintree River, around 8am, north of Cairns.
“The boat was drifting and local fishermen put it under tow to bring it in and it sunk just at the mouth of the river,’’ he said.
“Apparently the people on the boat ran into the jungle.’’’
It is believed there were up to 40 people on board the vessel.
Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said she understood Border Force and police officers were now searching for the suspected asylum-seekers.
“All I know is that they are looking in the rainforest,’’ she said.
1/ The suspected illegal immigrants who waded through croc-infested waters after their boat sank.
Border Force agents, Queensland Police officers and a dog squad are scouring dense rainforest near a sunken foreign fishing trawler at Cape Kimberley, north of Port Douglas.
It is understood the trio caught were walking to the ferry across the waterway.
Police were this morning searching vehicles and caravans at the main checkpoint at the Daintree River ferry — the only crossing point on the crocodile-infested waters.
Three men were spotted running across the road near the ferry. Police captured two but one escaped into thick scrub earlier this morning. A third man was captured by 9.20am.
Border Force is refusing to confirm exactly how many more suspected illegal immigrants were on the run but sources say up to 17 were still hiding out in the world-famous Daintree rainforest.
A spokesperson from the Department of Home Affairs this morning commented on the search.
“The ABF (Australian Border Force) is currently investigating what we believe to be an illegal fishing vessel that ran aground north of Port Douglas.
“We can confirm that a number of potential unlawful non-citizens have been located.
“The ABF and Department of Home Affairs will undertake the necessary border processes to establish circumstances around the arrival.”
The statement comes after former Australian Border Force boss Roman Quaedvlieg took to Twitter today to comment on the boat’s arrival, saying Vietnamese fishing boats have been illegally fishing in fleets off the Queensland coast for years and suggested the vessel “used this activity as a staging point to make Oz landfall and avoid returning to VN”.
Last night The Courier-Mail took exclusive images of some of the now 13 detainees being treated by paramedics and processed by police at the Mossman watch house.
Most were well dressed and in good health but one was vomiting and another complained of a shoulder injury.
Maritime Safety staff were this morning relocating blue barrels filled with diesel from the deck of the vessel, on the beach near the fishing trawler opposite Snapper Island. The trawler could be seen to have sunk deeper since yesterday.
A 400m long oil slick lines the pristine sands and the air was thick with the smell of diesel this morning.
EARLIER: A desperate search is under way for at least 20 suspected illegal immigrants on the run in dense rainforest after a foreign fishing boat ran aground north of Cairns.
In extraordinary scenes captured by The Courier-Mail, 11 people were on Sunday detained, some well-dressed, as they sat on an isolated beach near the crocodile-infested Daintree River, surrounded by Australian Border Force officials and police.
Asylum seeker vessel makes it into Queensland waters
A search was being carried out for at least 20 others who escaped into the mangroves.
In what could be the first test for newly minted Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who was famously behind the “stop the boats” campaign, it is understood Queensland Police suspect the people to be illegal immigrants and one of them revealed he was a cab driver.
However, a Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson would only confirm Border Force was “responding to what we believe to be an illegal fishing vessel”.
The trawler remained partially submerged on Sunday night, about 150m off the beach, with a large diesel oil spill trailing towards the coast near Snapper Island, 18km north of Port Douglas.
It is understood a local fishing boat towed the vessel into deeper water after it ran aground at the mouth of the Daintree River earlier on Sunday.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority requested helicopter support to fly to the scene in the pristine waters of the inner Great Barrier Reef, known for large crocodiles and hammerhead sharks, about 11am.
The foreign boat could be seen to be heavily loaded with blue barrels used for sea cucumbers on the forward deck, and the perimeter of the trawler gantry was decked out with squid lanterns.
About nine detainees could be seen sitting on the beach, under guard of armed police and ABF officers, next to three police 4WDs.
It is understood the police dog squad was also deployed for the search.
Seven men and two women, who appeared to be in good health, were well dressed in jeans, jackets, caps and footwear, with their luggage at their feet.
Police told local fishermen at the site the group had claimed to be asylum seekers and it is understood senior officers were treating them as illegal immigrants, rather than illegal fishers.
It is understood Border Force officials were waiting for an interpreter to help determine the group’s motives.
It comes after a week of turmoil in Australian politics in which Queensland MP Peter Dutton, known for his hardline approach to asylum seekers as Home Affairs Minister, launched a coup against Malcolm Turnbull for the prime ministership.
He ultimately lost to Mr Morrison, but will retain his Home Affairs portfolio and be sworn back in tomorrow.
Border Force has a fleet of two helicopters with night vision and FLIR (infra-red) equipment, fixed wing aircraft and drones that patrol the Torres Strait and it is unclear how the foreign fishing boat slipped under the radar.
In 1999, a 35m cargo boat with 26 Chinese nationals on-board ran aground, just 10km from the Cairns CBD.
For three days, like this latest incident, it had negotiated the inner shipping route of the Great Barrier Reef without being intercepted in Australian waters.
Newsagent Bruce Sharples contacted authorities after he was asked to call a taxi for some of the boat people, some of whom were dressed in suits and carrying suitcases.
Less than a month later, a 40m tug boat with at least 58 illegal Chinese immigrants on board chugged down the east coast for 10 days before it ground itself at Scotts Head, near Nambucca Heads.
In mid-June, authorities intercepted the 33rd boat since the start of Operation Sovereign Borders in 2013.
It is understood the large but basic vessel, which was identified by Australian authorities by air and sea surveillance, was uncomfortably close to Australian territory before it was intercepted by the Navy.