Migrant boat from India could be heading to New Zealand
KOCHI, 23 JANUARY 2019 (REUTERS) --- A fishing boat with nearly 260 migrants, including women and children, may be heading to New Zealand, police said on Monday. The boat, which is carrying people from New Delhi and Tamil Nadu, left Munambam harbour in Kerala on January 12, two officers involved in the case told Reuters. An individual from New Delhi arrested in connection with the investigation, Prabhu Dhandapani, told police the boat was heading to New Zealand, according to both officers. Police have recovered more than 70 bags left behind by the migrants, as well as around 20 identification documents, officer VG Ravindran said.
"The bags are full of dry goods and clothes, suggesting they were preparing for a long journey," said Officer MJ Sojan.
"The people and boat are missing somewhere in the sea. Many Indian agencies including the coastguard are trying to locate the boat."
For the migrants to reach New Zealand, they would need to travel more than 7,000 miles through some of the roughest seas in the world. Cyclones and storms are common in the straits between Indonesia and Australia, the most likely route for the boat. A spokesman for New Zealand's department of immigration was not immediately available for comment. The Australian immigration and border security agency will look out for the boat. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has ordered the Australian Border Force to spot the vessel that has both Indian and Sri Lankan immigrants after Indian agencies made an informal request.... PACNEWS