Singapore turns away rescued boat people

December 14, 2012 - 7:22:16 am


SINGAPORE: Singapore has turned away a ship carrying 40 people rescued off Myanmar, port officials said yesterday, amid media reports the passengers could be stateless Muslim Rohingya.

Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) said it denied entry to the Vietnamese-registered bulk carrier Nosco Victory because of a lack of information about its passengers.

The authority said in a statement it had received a “pre-arrival notification” that a vessel which rescued 40 people from the sea off Myanmar wanted to enter Singapore.

In coordination with the MPA, India’s Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre in Port Blair advised the ship’s captain to “proceed to the nearest place of safety to disembark the rescued persons”.

However the captain ignored the instruction and insisted on proceeding to Singapore, which was at least three days away, the MPA added. Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald newspaper said the 40 are believed to be Rohingya fleeing ethnic violence in Myanmar.Afp