Captain Of Merchant Ship Diverts To Australia Fearing Safety of Ship With 67 Asylum Seekers

The captain of a merchant ship, MV Parsifal, bound for Singapore has diverted his ship to Australia after fearing the 67 asylum seekers he picked up at sea during a rescue might pose a threat to his ship.

During the rescue one of the asylum seekers fell overboard during the rescue and is now believed to have drowned while the remaining survivors were in an Australian immigration detention center.

Some Australian lawmakers have called for the surviving asylum seekers to be charge with Piracy because they used threats forcing the merchant ship to divert to Australia.

Reports show that the refugees were 44 miles south of the Indonesian island of Java on a crowded fishing boat when they made a distress call to the Australian authorities.  Australian authorities then alerted all merchant vessel in the area and the MV Parsifal, a Singapore-flagged Swedish-owned car carrier, was the first to respond as required under international maritime law.

After rescuing the refugees, the ship then continued on its way to Singapore.  Once the refugees found out that the ship was continuing on to its destination of Singapore, the refugees threatened to hurt themselves.

The captain then turned his ship around and headed for Australian territory and radios Australian police that "he was concerned for his crew's safety."  An Australian Naval vessel escorted the MV Parsifal to Australian territory.

In a statement by the ship's owner, Wallenius Marine, it said the ship's captain was not available for comment and that there has been no physical aggression from the refugees.

A new law being considered in Australia would send such refugees and asylum seekers to tent camps in the Pacific countries of Nauru or Papua New Guinea.  The legislation is being considered by some lawmakers as a response to the increasing number of Asian and Middle Eastern people seeking to migrant to Australia illegally.

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