Deathscapes

The Australian Solution: A model for necropolitics at the border 7f - From the MV Tampa to the MV Pinar: ‘the new normal’

Deathscapes

EU: The new normal?

[imagecaption] Artwork: Mahmoud Salameh. [/imagecaption]

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In April 2009, 140 people seeking asylum, along with 13 crew members were rescued from two boats by the Turkish ship MV Pinar. Subsequently, the ship was prevented from reaching either a Maltese or Italian port because both countries refused to accept responsibility for the people who had been rescued. A four-day standoff ensued, leaving those on board stranded at sea with insufficient food and water supplies. Here, political imperatives were prioritised over the lives of people considered unworthy of being rescued. Eventually, the Italian government agreed to let them land in Sicily.  By this time one of the pregnant women on board had already died 

The events of the MV Pinar standoff in the Mediterranean Sea recall Australia’s response to the MV Tampa in 2001, which resulted in a five-day standoff in the Indian Ocean. In this case, the Norwegian freight vessel rescued 433 asylum seekers under the direction of the Australian Maritime Authority. The Australian government refused to allow the ship to enter Australian waters and insisted that the asylum seekers be returned to Merak in Indonesia. Due to his concerns for the welfare of those on board, however, Captain Arne Rinnan defied Australian orders and sailed the Tampa into Flying Fish Cove on Christmas Island. This prompted the government’s introduction of the so-called ‘Pacific Solution’ to prevent any of the Tampa refugees ‘ever setting foot on Australian soil.   


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