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Australia Today

Fishermen Catch Asylum Seekers, Offer Them a Beer and Take Them to the Cops

They will be "deported from our country at the first available opportunity," said Peter Dutton.
Gavin Butler
Melbourne, AU

Two Vietnamese asylum seekers taking shelter in the mangroves of Queensland’s Daintree Rainforest were momentarily rescued by a pair of local crab fishermen yesterday. The Australian men—Barry Preston and Justin Ward—welcomed the migrants on board, offered them a beer, and “got them to help us pull in a few crab pots”.

"As we came around into the mouth of the river these two lads were hanging off the mangroves there looking severely worried,” Ward later told Channel 9. “We gave them a ride up the river and had a few laughs.”


The migrants—who went missing on Sunday after their boat ran aground off nearby Cape Kimberley—were reportedly dehydrated and hungry by the time the fishermen found them. Ward offered them beer, but they settled for water. They asked to be taken to the markets, but Ward informed them that it wasn’t market day and let them pull in some more crab pots. The Queenslander recalls taking selfies with the men and laughing.

“I wasn't exactly sure what we were all talking about all the time, but everybody was laughing.”

Shortly thereafter, Ward and Preston handed them in to police.

By Monday night authorities had detained at least 12 people from the wrecked vessel, which is believed to have made the voyage to Australia from Vietnam, SBS News reported. Several more crew members are still on the run, as Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo calls for the irregular migrants to be rounded up and “shipped off” to detention centres in Nauru.

"Those people, if we can find them, they should be taken into custody, so to speak, and they should be sent to Nauru," Ciobo told Sky News. "Or they should be sent somewhere offshore if we're able to do it under our international obligations.

“They should not be allowed to stay in Australia.”

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton further added that those detained will be "deported from our country at the first available opportunity".