The vessel which sank between Christmas Island
and Australia was reportedly carrying as many as 133 people, and 123 of them were rescued by multiple ships which made it to the scene, as reported at The West.
HMAS Maitland, HMAS Leeuwin, and MV Bison Express were eventually on scene to pick up the survivors from the water. The rescue operation also involved the use of a long range P-3 Orion aircraft.
Some confusion regarding the exact location of the vessel when first reported slowed the rescue efforts initially, but the issue was cleared up and rescue was effected all possible haste.
The sinking of this vessel follows the loss of another vessel
only a few days ago as reported at DJ, with 200 people on board. As many as 90 people perished in that incident.
The incident today has sparked a legislative furor by Australian politicians over the question of how to deal with the asylum seekers. The largest issue appears to be one of whether asylum seekers are able to be processed while still offshore from Australia.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had attempted to introduce draft laws, but the Government re-introduced a bill by Rob Oakeshott
, although the political stalemate may not be at end even with that bill.