02 February 2009

Icebox fisherman ask to stay in Australia

The two Burmese fishermen found floating in a giant icebox in Australian waters last month have asked to stay in Australia, rather than returning home, reports The Australian.

The men’s boat had 18 other crewmen onboard when it sank and all other members were lost at sea.  The two Burmese men who survived the ordeal by floating in an icebox for 25 days were reported to have been indentured labourers for the fishing boat.

After ten days of questioning and recovery back to health, the Australian immigration department has confirmed the men do not wish to return to their country of origin, but that they have not yet asked for asylum through the authorities.

“They will remain in detention on Christmas Island while immigration officials consider their claims,” a spokesperson from the department of immigration told reporters.

“We know what media reporting has said about the claims of spending 20 days or more at sea and we are still not in a position to comment on the veracity of that, other than to say that they were found in at sea in an icebox.”

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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