55 victims after boat capsized in Indian Ocean

By Accidents

Maritime officials have given up hope of finding any people that might have been survived after an asylum seeker vessel, which was carrying at least 55 passengers to Australia capsized in the Indian Ocean.

The vessel's submerged hull was spotted by air Friday, and bodies of the passengers, life jackets and debris have been spotted near Christmas Island , an Australian territory nearer to Indonesia than to the mainland.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) called off the air and search Sunday night based on medical advice that no one could have survived that long in the sea, according to the press release.

The maritime authority and border protection officials of Australia decided Monday not to mount a new search to recover the passengers' bodies due to other demands on resources.

"Our ships and aircraft were busy with a range of high priority operations near the Christmas island," stated the spokesman of the Border Protection Command. They didn't say further details on those operations.

"Our high priority is responding to other ships and boats that might require any help  and preventing any further loss of life," according to the border protection statement.

The capsized vessel was seen about 75 miles nautical miles northwest of Christmas Island that is 500 kilometres (310 nautical miles) south of Jakarta and 2,600 kilometers (1,600 nautical miles) from Perth, the nearest major Australian coastal city.

A total of 13 victims have been determined, but vessel didn't interrupt the search for survivors to retrieve the dead.

The air crew members counted 55 passengers on deck. They were mostly men, but also women and kids, according to the statement of the maritime authorities. Their nationalities are still unknown. The spokesman of the maritime authorities, Jo Meehan, told there could have been as many as 60 asylum seekers and Indonesian crew aboard.

Because of close vicinity of Christmas Island to Indonesia, it's the most popular destination for asylum seekers that pay people smugglers to take them from Indonesian ports to Australia in overcrowded and unseaworthy vessels. Many of the asylum seekers come from Afghanistan, Iran and Sri Lanka.