A group of asylum seekers, including children, has reportedly been detained in Java after an unsuccessful attempt to journey by boat to Australia.
The 21 people, from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, were found floating off Cianjur, in southern Java, early today.
They had reportedly set out for Christmas Island but were hampered by big waves, and then floated for three days without fuel before local fishermen found them.
More Immigration officials are preparing to collect information from the asylum seekers. than a dozen asylum seekers attempting to get to Australia from Indonesia have been placed in immigration detention in Sukabumi after they were forced to call for help when their boat ran into bad weather.
The head of Indonesia’s People Smuggling Taskforce, Budi Santoso, confirmed there were 21 people on board, including asylum seekers from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
One of those 18 asylum seekers on board the small wooden boat, Muhammad Jahir Hussain, said the group was trying to reach Christmas Island, but were struck by large waves and were forced to ask for help to return to shore.
He said he had travelled from Bangladesh through Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to reach his intended destination.
“From Jakarta to Australia, it costs 6.5 million Rupiah ($630),” he said.
That is significantly less than the thousands of dollars people smugglers used to charge.
Still no resettlement for those on Manus and Nauru
This is the first reported attempt for asylum seekers to reach Australia by boat since Malcolm Turnbull — who has ruled out resettling refugees who are processed on Manus Island or Nauru in Australia — became Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister yesterday said while he was “concerned” about conditions within the offshore processing network, the Coalition did not want to encourage asylum seekers to risk their lives at sea.
“There will be no resettlement of the people on Manus and Nauru in Australia. They will never come to Australia,” Mr Turnbull said.
“Now, I know that’s tough, we do have a tough border protection policy, you could say it’s a harsh policy, but it has worked.”
Asylum seekers who were found on wooden boat off Cidaun in West Java, rest after being brought ashore
Photo: Asylum seekers who were found on wooden boat off Cidaun in West Java, rest after being brought ashore. (ABC News)
Police who processed the most recent asylum seekers in Indonesia told ABC News there was no mention of political change in Australia being behind their reasons for attempting the trip.
When asked why he left Bangladesh, Muhammad Jahir Hussain said: “Because of poverty and unrest, riots”.
It is understood fishermen off Cianjur in West Java discovered the boat on Wednesday.
The asylum seekers are being held by Indonesian Immigration officials.
Immigration officials are preparing to collect information from the asylum seekers.
Those registered as asylum seekers or refugees by the UNHCR are likely to be freed, but those without papers would face indefinite detention.