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Greens call for urgent investigation into saving lives at sea and rescue protocols

The Australian Greens today expressed their sorrow at the recent loss of lives and called for a thorough investigation into improving safety at sea practices and clarifying rescue obligations in law.

"There must be an urgent investigation into the continued delays in responding to distress calls from asylum seeker boats" said Greens' spokesperson for immigration Senator Sarah Hanson-Young in Adelaide today.

"The tragic events of the past two days show that the government needs to investigate why these delays are occurring and whether our current rescue protocols and practices are adequate.

"We need a proper investigation into the practical challenges facing Australia and Indonesia and codification of search and rescue obligations so there's no room for confusion.

"Enhancing our safety at sea practices is a crucial step but the best way to save lives is to offer refugees safer pathways before they even consider embarking on a dangerous boat journey, starting with immediately increasing resettlement of refugees out of Indonesia.

"I urge the Minister to send a team of Australian officials to Indonesia to show people that there is a safer alternative to a dangerous boat journey.

"In the Greens' submission to the Houston Panel and in federal Parliament over recent months we have proposed codification of our international safety at sea obligations to avoid the continued delays in responding to distress calls which put lives at risk.

"Codifying operational guidelines for search and rescue was a key recommendation of the A Certain Maritime Incident inquiry into the SIEV X and also the Houston Panel report, and the Greens will continue to push for this in Parliament in the coming session.

Media contact: Kelly Farrow 0427 604 760

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