Dutton's warning as more boats detected

06 Juin, 2019, 03:51 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Dutton's warning as more boats detected

Australian pilots have helped save dozens of asylum seekers from drowning at sea.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is on a flying visit to Sri Lanka where he's expected to discuss people smuggling after laying a wreath at a bombed church where two Australians were killed.

Dutton said although there was a lull in human smuggling recently, "we've just seen an uptick in activity in the last month or so, which has caused this concern".

According to information provided by Australia, over 1,200 people have drowned while attempting to reach Australia by boat illegally.

Several other boats are believed to have been detected in recent weeks.

The Australian reports, Operation Sovereign Borders' aircraft yesterday began three days of patrols over the waters near Christmas Island in a bid to find boats that might be on their way.

Last week, the government said the navy had stopped a vessel originating from Sri Lanka that was carrying 20 men and women who were attempting to travel to Australia.

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Only yesterday the apartment of Canberra journalist Annika Smethurst was raided by the AFP over an April 2018 story about a secret government plan to spy on Australians.

The announcement coincides with the government launching its new "Zero Chance" campaign, aimed at deterring people from using people smugglers to gain entry to Australia. However, the law in relation to security is not changed.

"Regardless of how much money you handover, regardless of what is promised people will never arrive by boat in Australia", he added.

As of mid-January, Operation Sovereign Borders had disrupted 80 people-smuggling ventures since its inception in September 2013.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese rejected the claim, noting that 10 asylum seekers boats had come from Sri Lanka on the Coalition's watch and suggesting the terrorist attacks at Easter may have prompted the boat.

The relationship with Sri Lanka is one of Australia's most important partnerships in combatting people smuggling in the region, and it continues to strengthen.

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