13 May 2014

Manus aslyum seekers consider Torres Strait route to Australia

9:17 am on 13 May 2014

Some asylum seekers at the Manus Island detention centre are reported to be considering trying to reach Australia via the Torres Strait after taking the option of settling in Papua New Guinea.

Australia's border protection minister, Scott Morrison last week announced several measures to strengthen security on the strait including deploying armed patrol boats to monitor the sea between PNG and north Queensland.

A PNG commentator, Keith Jackson, says his source on Manus says some asylum seekers are giving serious thought to crossing the short strait which has many hiding places, and has been used by smugglers for years with little monitoring by Australian authorities.

"It's clear that Canberra is beginning to think that this close proximity to the two countries through a stretch of water which has many little islands in it could pose problems - perhaps not only of drugs and guns, but of asylum seekers as well."

Keith Jackson of the PNG website, PNG Attitude