Reuters first and then BBC are reporting hundreds missing as another wooden (perhaps fiberglass) boat sinks off the Indonesian coast of East Java. No doubt these are more 'illegal' immigrants (mostly from the Middle East) attempting to reach Australia.
As more becomes known from sources in Indonesia there, no doubt, will be chilling stories of the un-imaginable terror at sea.
While no summary is yet available for 2011, during 2010, illegal, people-smuggler boats are being intercepted about every third day off the Australian shores.
Vast stretches of water separate Australia from easy access to asylum seekers.
Mostly from troubled Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, those so desperate to find a new life, board unsafe-in-any-sea, over-crowded craft.
The most recent deaths were reported in November. Seventy asylum-seekers were crammed onto a decrepit, nineteen meter, wooden fishing craft, leaving Java for a new life in Australia. Thirty minutes into the journey, with petrol fumes choking the passengers – most below deck – the boat tipped to one side, water rushed in: eight, including children, were known drowned, and, as in most events of this kind, there are the missing.
An overloaded people smuggler boat sinks. Nine known drowned. Fifteen not accounted for.
This so far unidentified craft was, it appears, en route to Java, however, it may have sailed from another port among the many hundred ports in Indonesia. There is a report from one of those rescued (33 at last report), of busses delivering asylum seekers to be loaded aboard a fishing boat.
Speculation here: are bribes paid to have officials look away from both an illegal trade that is unsafe as well?
It appears that Australia, this island nation, given this unfolding tragedy, will again be urged to create ways for more humanitarian re-settlements.