8 Sep 2012

Asylum seekers refusing to leave boat

4:23 pm on 8 September 2012

About 50 Sri Lankan asylum seekers are refusing to leave their boat which is stranded next to an Indonesian Island.

The ABC is reporting that the boat ran out of diesel about a week ago and had to be towed to the Mentawai Islands.

It's one of two boats carrying 93 Sri Lankan asylum seekers in total which had to be brought to safety there.

The passengers of one boat agreed to go ashore but 53 others are demanding to be given 2000 litres of fuel so they can continue to Australia's Christmas Island.

The regional head of immigration, Elfinur, says authorities cannot give them petrol because that would amount to participating in people-smuggling and would also violate Indonesia immigration law.

He says the asylum seekers still have some food on board and he is happy to give them more.

He says they have been offered temporary accommodation in a town hall but they are refusing to leave the boat.