Indonesian crew transferred to Perth detention center

15:49, December 24, 2010      

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The Australian Immigration Department confirmed on Friday, three Indonesian men who were part of the crew involved in the boat disaster at Christmas Island on December 15, were transferred to the Perth Immigration Detention Center.

Immigration Department spokesman Sandi Logan said the men were transferred by air on Thursday night but he played down reports they had been transferred after receiving threats.

"The welfare and safety of the crew, just like everyone else in this case, and the survivors, has been paramount at all times," Logan said.

"But their transfer from Christmas Island to detention on the mainland in Perth, I wouldn't read anything into that frankly," he added.

It's understood the crew were held in a separate part of the Christmas Island detention center from the asylum seeker survivors.

Many of the asylum seeker survivors of the boat disaster, who lost relatives and friends, remain at the Christmas Island detention center.

"As is the case with all crew who ultimately are being dealt either for return or judicial proceedings, they're held on the mainland," the spokesman said. The tragedy occurred when the wooden-hulled fishing boat now identified as suspected illegal entry vessel number 221 (SIEV 221) smashed into rocks on the island on December 15. As many as 50 of the estimated 90 asylum seekers aboard may have died. So far 30 bodies have been recovered.

Source: Xinhua

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