A Series of Boats 2m - Stranded at Sea


‘Nope, nope, nope’: Stranded at Sea

A man holds a placard at a protest that reads 'Do turnbacks save lives? Nope, Nope, Nope!'. A couple of people stand around him and cars can be seen driving past on the road behind them.

[imagecaption] Rescue the Rohingya Protest, Boorloo (Perth), Whadjuk Noongar Country, 2015. Photo: Marziya Mohammedali. [/imagecaption]


  • In 2015, it was reported that thousands of Rohingya refugees were stranded at sea, as countries in the region were unwilling to let them land. In response to this humanitarian crisis, when asked if Australia could resettle some of them, then Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott responded simply: ‘nope, nope, nope’. Contrary to its rhetoric of saving lives at sea, the actions of the Australian state represent a willingness to let people drown. Evidently, this attitude prevails across much of Europe and Asia as well.   
  • In November 2018, 76 people drowned when their boat sank off the coast of Sicily.  Despite being in close range to the dinghy before it capsized, a US navy ship, USS Trenton, ignored distress calls and failed to assist them until after they had sunk. A survivor stated, ‘We saw that ship, it was not far away…We saw the American flag. If they had rescued us when we were all still onboard, 76 people would not have died.’
  • In August 2019, fifteen people traveled on a dinghy from Libya to Malta. After they ran out of food and water, the passengers began to die on the boat. Mohammed Adam Oga, the sole survivor stated, “There were 15 of us on the boat and I am the only one alive…We saw many boats. We shouted, ‘Help, Help!’ We were waving and they were just passing. A helicopter came and left.’ 


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