Tranportation Law News

August 12, 2010

Migrant ship nears Vancouver Island

VICTORIA August 10, 2010- There are signs a ship containing Tamil migrants is edging closer to the coast of Vancouver Island expected to land in BC.

Officials are putting the final touches on preparations for the ship’s arrival and /A\ News has learned Canada Border Service Agents across the country are travelling to BC to help process the migrants.

And as those plans gear up, some are wondering whether the government is doing enough to curb more boat loads of would-be refugees.

But the big question; when will the ship dock and where?

Vancouver Immigration Lawyer, Richard Kurland says “The Canada Border Service Agency is prepped ready to go. Even the legal aid system in British Columbia is prepped up and the lawyers are on standby”.

The planning comes from experience gathered during a number of previous cases. Most recently 76 Tamil migrants arrived in Victoria last year.

In 1999 about 600 Asian migrants arrived on the coast of Vancouver Island in 4 separate ships.

Ottawa says border and marine security is a priority.

“The problem of human smuggling and illegal migration is a serious one” says Vic Toews, Canada’s Public Safety Minister “And the abuse of our immigration system is something that our government will not tolerate”

But, Kelly Sundberg a former immigration and border agent says with thousands of outstanding immigration warrants Canada needs more resources.

Now a professor at Calgary’s Mount Royal University says “It’s inconceivable that 500 officers could identify, locate and deal with the more than 45,000 people let alone boats full of more people who are going to enter the system”.

Some of those agents from across Canada are now on their way to help process the Tamil migrants now heading to BC.

Where they will land officials aren’t saying, but there is word their ship could dock at Victoria’s Ogden Point Cruise Ship terminal, CFB Esquimalt, or at a dock near Comox.

A source familiar with the operation tells /A\ News that the migrant ship is more likely to land in Victoria where there are two trauma centres in case any of the migrants need emergency medical aid. Investigators would also find it easier to stage any possible criminal investigation in Victoria.

Perhaps no one will be watching that landing more closely than the operators of two more migrant ships believed to be waiting somewhere in Asia ready to set sail once they learn how official accept or reject potential refugees.

Via /A\ News

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