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Monday, December 19, 2011

Sydney dad desperately waiting for news of son missing on asylum seeker boat in Java

Gemma Jones The Daily Telegraph December 20, 2011 11:32AM
Sayed Nawruz holds a photo of his missing son Sayed Nazim in his Auburn home. Picture: Brett Costello Source: The Daily Telegraph

A SYDNEY father was desperately waiting for news about his missing son yesterday, two days after the asylum seeker boat he was on sank off Java.

Sayed Nazim, 24, called his wife Amina in Pakistan last week, telling her he was about to board the vessel for the start of what he hoped would be their new life in Australia.

Relatives in Auburn in Sydney's south west said he boarded with his friend Mohamed Zia, who was one of 34 people rescued.

"Mohamed called Pakistan and said Nazim was missing," his cousin Sayed Zahidi said.

"He last saw him on the ship and then the ship sunk and he lost Nazim.

"He called Pakistan. He said 'Nazim is lost."

His father Sayed Nawruz was distraught yesterday.

Mr Nawruz came to Australia by boat from Pakistan two years ago himself, Mr Zahidi said.

AUSTRALIA's borders are open to asylum seekers arriving by boat but closed to refugees waiting in queues, survivors of the disaster say.

A FURTHER 13 survivors and two crew members have been found after an overcrowded boat sank in
UPDATE: A further 18 survivors of the asylum seeker boat disaster have been found by a coal ship off an island in Indonesia's Jember region.

The family are Hazaras and claim they faced persecution or even death in their homeland.

Mr Zahidi said he was desperately trying to get a visa for himself and Mr Nazim's father to visit Indonesia but he had been knocked back.

Department of Foreign Affairs officials were assisting him yesterday.

"We want to access and see what is happening," he said.

Mr Nazim was travelling alone but had hoped his wife could join him in Australia.

"He was coming as a refugee, as a Hazara somebody could have killed him," his cousin said.

The family was yesterday gathered at Mr Zahidi's Auburn home and plan to visit Indonesian Consulate General in Sydney this morning.

Sydney refugee advocates expect more families will learn relatives are missing.

The Department of Immigration also expects some of those already in detention will know some of the hundreds of asylum seekers feared drowned in Saturday's disaster.

Officials have been preparing to support detainees.

The Telegraph

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