World Bulletin / News Desk
Great fears are held for 67 people, presumed to be asylum seekers, onboard a boat that has been missing since it left Indonesia more than a month ago and may have sunk, Australian authorities said on Tuesday.
The boat left Indonesia in late June or early July but has not been detected since, Home Affairs MinisterJason Clare told Australian television.
"There is no evidence that those people have arrived in Australia," Clare said, adding Australia held "very great fears" for those missing.
Since 2001, almost 1,000 people have died at sea while attempting to reach Australia on overcrowded and often unseaworthy refugee boats from Indonesia.
In a turnaround for her administration on Monday, Prime Minister Julia Gillard moved to re-open refugee detention centres on the Pacific islands nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea to deter such arrivals.
People seeking asylum in Australia, many from Afghanistan and the Middle East, often set sail fromIndonesia heading for Australia's Indian Ocean territory of Christmas Island after paying peoplesmugglers.
While boat arrivals are a hot political topic, the numbers trying to reach Australia are small compared with the more than 58,000 people who arrived in Europe by sea in 2011, according to U.N. figures.Last Mod: 14 Ağustos 2012, 11:40