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Cairns fishing vessels boarded in PNG.

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Cairns Fishing Vessels Boarded in PNG

Senator McLucas has received representations on behalf of eight residents of Far North Queensland who have advised they were deported after their four vessels were boarded by armed PNG military and official personnel in Daru Harbour last Friday, 23 October.

No charges were laid by the PNG officials. The men were escorted to the airport and flown back on pre-booked charter planes to Horn Island in the Torres Strait within ninety minutes of the seizure of their vessels. Officials provided no warrants or deportation documentation to the Australians involved.

“I have spoken directly with the Master of the largest of the vessels who categorically stated that he was forced at gunpoint to open the ship’s safe and remove a considerable amount of cash,” Senator McLucas says.

“I was contacted after the owners of the vessels had unsuccessfully tried to get Foreign Affairs to take action,” she points out.

“I have raised this as a matter of urgency with Labor’s Foreign Affairs Spokesman Kevin Rudd who has written to Minister Downer (correspondence available by request).

“I have requested an urgent briefing from the PNG High Commissioner about the authority under which officials acted, any offences associated with this incident committed by Australian citizens in the PNG jurisdiction and the status of the cash, seafood and vessels seized.”

The status of the four boats (valued at over $1 million), $250,000 worth of seafood and cash to approximate value of AUD$16,000 remains unknown at this time. /Ends Canberra 3.45pm 29/10/2003 For further information contact Cora Trevarthen 0418 770484

Media Release Senator Jan McLucas Labor Senator for Queensland