Gladstone Police and Australian customs service officers intercept three men believed to be Turkish seafarers at Gladstone train station.
Gladstone Police and Australian customs service officers intercept three men believed to be Turkish seafarers at Gladstone train station. Brenda Strong

Police race to intercept Turkish sailors who deserted ship

THREE sailors suspected of deserting their ship have been arrested, after authorities intercepted them at the Gladstone train station on Wednesday.

The three Turkish men had reportedly tried to buy tickets out of town when staff alerted Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS).

"(Yesterday) morning the (ACBPS) in Gladstone was made aware of three Turkish crew members who appeared to be deserting their vessel," a spokeswoman said.

Police and Customs officials raced to the train station, and intercepted three men.

"The crew members are now in the custody of the Queensland Police Service, on behalf of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection."

The customs spokeswoman said it was rare that international seafarers tried to leave their ships.

"Cases such as these are uncommon," she said.

"The Department of Immigration and Border Protection's 2012-13 Annual Report states nationally there were 33 deserters and four stowaways reported."

That compares to 55 deserters and four stowaways in 2011-12.

"(The ACBPS) is alert to the risk of crew members attempting to desert their vessels on arrival in Australia, and we work closely with local authorities to mitigate this risk," she said.

Eight ships were at berth in Gladstone on Wednesday. Six were coal tankers, one was delivering project infrastructure, and one was transporting magnesia.



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