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Saturday, 27 October 2012 - 12:34
Boat seized at Kudawella intercepted in Australian seas; 14 individuals deported
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The Australian Department of Immigration said 14 asylum seekers who allegedly hijacked a ship off the Sri Lankan Mathara – Kudawalla coast in a bid to reach Australia have been found and sent home.

The group of Sri Lankan nationals was detected and intercepted northwest of the Cocos Islands by Australian authorities late on Thursday.

There were 15 people on board the vessel Chejan, which was involved in the allegedly hijacking incident on October 13th.

Fourteen of them were returned to Sri Lanka from the Cocos Islands on a charter flight this afternoon.

One of the boat people could not be sent home today, but the department has indicated he will be deported in coming days.

The boat had been missing until it was intercepted late on Thursday north-west of the Cocos Islands by ACV Hervey Bay.

The group was accused of seizing the Chejan, a fishing trawler, and attacking a number of its crew.

At the time, Sri Lanka's high commissioner to Australia, Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, said the missing fishing trawler was a known people-smuggling vessel that was being used by six crew for fishing when it was apparently taken.

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