A record 135 boats carrying 8,845 asylum-seekers have arrived in Australia this year, mostly via a popular people-smuggling route from Indonesia, prompting Canberra to announce a tough new transfer policy to deter attempts to make the dangerous sea voyage.
Here’s a list of major boat accidents involving asylum seekers travelling to Australia over the past decade.
August 29, 2012: Asylum boat carrying 150 people vanishes after sending distress signal from the Sunda Strait. Fifty-five survivors are found.
June 27, 2012: Rescuers pluck 130 asylum-seekers from the ocean after their boat sinks en route to Australia, with one confirmed dead and up to 20 others never found.
June 21, 2012: Smuggling ship capsizes and sinks off Christmas Island, with six bodies recovered and up to 90 others never found. There are 110 survivors.
December 17, 2011: Asylum-seeker boat carrying 250 capsizes off Java. Fewer than 50 survivors are found.
November 1, 2011: At least nine refugees die when their boat capsizes en route to eastern Indonesia’s Kupang, a key people-smuggling transit point.
December 15, 2010: About 50 refugees are killed when a rickety boat shatters in huge seas off Christmas Island.
April 16, 2009: Five Afghan refugees die when their boat explodes off Ashmore Reef, near Christmas Island, following an act of sabotage that also injures dozens of the 49 on board.
October 19, 2001: An Indonesian fishing boat known as the SIEV-X sinks en route to Australia, carrying 421 passengers, mostly Iraqis and Afghans. Of those, 353 die, 146 of them children, in the most deadly incident involving refugees in Australia’s history.