A sunken fishing vessel, believed to be carrying Vietnamese asylum seekers, is seen off the beach at Cape Kimberley at the mouth of the Daintree River. PICTURE: AAP IMAGE/BRIAN CASSEY
A sunken fishing vessel, believed to be carrying Vietnamese asylum seekers, is seen off the beach at Cape Kimberley at the mouth of the Daintree River. PICTURE: AAP IMAGE/BRIAN CASSEY

Dutton reveals fate of Daintree asylum seekers

ILLEGAL immigrants captured after a people-smuggling boat hit a sand bank in the Daintree have all been sent back to Vietnam.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told Parliament none of the undocumented arrivals had been granted asylum.

"We did see an arrival of a vessel, which was flagged out of Vietnam holding 17 people, land in the Daintree," he said.

"I inform the House that the 17 people on that vessel have now been returned back to Vietnam.

 

A sunken fishing vessel, believed to be carrying Vietnamese asylum seekers, is seen off the beach at Cape Kimberley at the mouth of the Daintree River. PICTURE: AAP IMAGE/BRIAN CASSEY
A sunken fishing vessel, believed to be carrying Vietnamese asylum seekers, is seen off the beach at Cape Kimberley at the mouth of the Daintree River. PICTURE: AAP IMAGE/BRIAN CASSEY

"We have dealt with the issue.

"We have surged our naval assets and we have surged our assets in terms of aerial surveillance as well."

Mr Dutton said people smugglers were still operating in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, across the Middle East and elsewhere around the world.

"This government will do whatever we need to do to stop those boats and to make sure that we don't see women and children drowning at sea again, like they did when Labor was last in government and like they would do again if Labor were elected at the next election," he said.

The Vietnamese fishing boat grounded in the Daintree River has been taken to the Norship Marine facility in Cairns to be destroyed. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
The Vietnamese fishing boat grounded in the Daintree River has been taken to the Norship Marine facility in Cairns to be destroyed. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch told the Cairns Post last week the Vietnamese fishing vessel had passed through international waters east of Papua New Guinea, rather than the Torres Strait as previously speculated.

He said the vessel was a frontrunner for a larger people smuggling operation hoping to send illegal immigrants to Sydney.

The boat was towed into Trinity Inlet last week and taken to Norship Marine to be destroyed.



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