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Navy crew warned of high threat as another asylum boat arrives
The Weekend Australian ^ | 18th April 2009 | Paul Maley and Paul Toohey

Posted on 04/17/2009 4:10:00 PM PDT by naturalman1975

ANOTHER group of asylum seekers was sailing toward Australia last night as it was revealed yesterday that navy crew aboard the boat that exploded on Thursday reported a "high threat" just moments before the blast.

As Kevin Rudd launched a vicious attack on people-smugglers, describing them as the "vilest" form of life, new details emerged about the vessel's final moments. And as the political debate over the causes of the surge continued, the 14th boatload of asylum seekers to arrive since August - understood to contain at least twice as many passengers as the last - was expected to be intercepted overnight or today.

The latest arrivals come after Indonesian authorities confirmed yesterday that they had, on Thursday, arrested 68 Afghans poised to make the hazardous sea journey from a West Java tourist port to Christmas Island.

At 6.15am, Perth time, on Thursday, an explosion rocked the small wooden vessel that had been intercepted by the navy off Ashmore Reef less than 24 hours earlier. Three people were killed, two were plunged into the sea and 31 were injured.

Late last night, Border Protection Command confirmed the search for the missing two had been called off, effectively lifting the death toll to five.

Commodore David Gwyther, head of Northern Command, and Lieutenant Commander Barry Learoyd, the commanding officer of HMAS Albany, who was an eyewitness to the explosion, confirmed that a boarding party from another patrol boat, HMAS Childers, had relayed a high-threat situation aboard the asylum-seeker vessel.

"We were told a high threat was called and we were actually in the vicinity and close to (the patrol boat) Childers, to support Childers. Basically, there was a concern in the boat," Commander Learoyd said.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Australia/New Zealand; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
Commander Gwyther

Well done, The Australian. You've just demoted a flag officer by two full grades. I am getting sick of newspapers that can't even get the most basic facts about the military right (worst case was when the Chief of the Defence Force, General Peter Cosgrove, was constantly referred to as "Major General Cosgrove" throughout his period in office, apparently because he first came to public attention at that rank. The newspapers apparently missed two subsequent promotions.)

1 posted on 04/17/2009 4:10:00 PM PDT by naturalman1975
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