10 Apr 2012

Afghan asylum seekers refuse to leave rescue ship

12:09 pm on 10 April 2012

Indonesian immigration officials are in a stand-off with asylum seekers who are refusing to leave a tanker which rescued them from a leaking boat.

About 120 Afghan asylum seekers were aboard the tanker which has taken them to the port of Merak in West Java, the ABC reports.

They were picked up by the Singapore-flagged tanker Hermia after sending out a distress signal when their vessel broke down early on Sunday morning.

An Indonesian immigration official says the asylum seekers have demanded guarantees they will not be sent to an Indonesian detention centre, where they fear they may spend months, if not years, waiting for their claims to be assessed.