21 January 2009
Men found floating in ice box taken for questioning by Australian immigration authorities
Two men were found floating in a giant esky off the north coast of Australia after being stranded in shark-infested waters for 25 days.
A helicopter rescued the Myanmar men on Saturday and taken to a hospital on Thursday Island. The pair said they were forced to work aboard a Thai fishing with 18 other crewmembers, who each died at sea after the 10m vessel sank.
A spokesperson from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) said authorities are holding the men at nearby Horn Island for questioning.
"I think it will take several days to get to the facts and get to the bottom of their claims."
Australian immigration authorities will investigate their claims of indentured labour, and if put forward, would consider any claims for refugee status. Otherwise, they will be returned to their home country within a matter of weeks.
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.
Article by Editorial Staff, Australian Visa Bureau.