A Certain Maritime Incident
A Certain Maritime Incident

A Certain Maritime Incident

The Sinking of SIEV X


320 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $24.95 (US $24.95) (CA $33.95)

Publication Date: August 2004

ISBN 9781920769215

Rights: US & CA

Scribe Publications Pty Ltd. (Aug 2004)

Price: $24.95


In October 2001, more than 400 asylum-seekers departed from Indonesia in a grossly overcrowded, unseaworthy boat bound for Australia. Somewhere between the two countries, however, the boat sank, and 353 people drowned. The Australian government claimed it had no prior knowledge of the unfolding tragedy, yet ministers and senior officials from the beginning tried to mislead the Australian Senate and the community. This book connects the dots to reveal a disquieting record of government misconduct and attempts to answer plaguing questions, such as What did the government and its agencies know about the boat and its fate, and when? Did they have any responsibility for the tragedy? and Did they have a duty of care to save the survivors?


"A passionate, heartfelt, and very detailed account of the tragic sinking of the vessel . . . which became known as the SIEV X." —Louise Dodson, Sydney Morning Herald"This 306 page investigative tour de force uncovers many nuggets of information that leave the reader distinctly uncomfortable . . . Australia needs whistle-blowers like Tony Kevin and Andrew Wilkie. What is required now are politicians and brave media to support them in their quest for the truth." —Antony Lowenstein, The Sun-Herald"In his outstanding investigation of the national shame and disgrace shrouding this incident, former Australian Diplomat, Tony Kevin, questions how this tragic event was allowed to occur. Kevin put his considerable skills, knowledge, and experience as a policy analyst to use." —Chelsea Rodd, Journal of Australian Studies Review of Books"His dedication to the cause is rare, his zeal admirable. Few of us have his staying power and dedication to finding the truth." —Pat Weller, Canberra Times"A careful and well-researched argument . . . His resolute and single-minded determination to uncover the truth deserves considerable respect and public admiration. At great personal cost, Kevin has upheld the finest traditions of public service, in the process exposing the politicisation of the federal bureaucracy and the lack of accountability in Australian government today." —Scott Burchill, The Age"A Certain Maritime Incident is a remarkable achievement, the culmination of three years of tireless work by Kevin to push for a full judicial inquiry into the sinking of the SIEV X. It is a meticulous presentation of the facts, piecing together in remarkable detail the story of the SIEV X, based entirely on information available on the public record. The book is an essential read for all those involved in the campaign for a more humane refugee policy. But it also has an important audience among those concerned with the potential for government lies and deception on a scale far more sinister than the 'children overboard' incident." —Sarah Stephen, Green Left Weekly "You will be deeply moved by this book, from sorrow to anger, as the counts of government misconduct and cover up grow with each passing page. Behaviour we would expect more from a proud Latin-American Junta than a western democracy. An essential book for those interested in uncovering the 'hidden history' that has become part and parcel of modern Australian government. My vote for non-fiction of the year." —Dean Merlino, Readings August Newsletter "I believe we should judge a nation not on its wealth, prestige or strength but on how it treats the weak, the vulnerable and the marginalised. It is for these reasons that I admire Tony Kevin and commend his advocacy on behalf of people many would prefer to forget." —Dr. Tom Frame, Defender, Spring 2004"Treatment of refugees is one of the great scandals of the modern age . . . With impressive courage and determination, Tony Kevin has unearthed the grim and deeply moving story he recounts in this remarkable book—an 'always powerfully contested story,' and one of 'durable national significance' that has 'crept into the hearts and consciences of many Australians' and must find its way to the hearts and consciences of many others if these persistent and shocking crimes are to be brought to end." —Noam Chomsky

Author Biography

Tony Kevin worked for Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, served in the Prime Minister’s Department, and was Australia’s ambassador to Poland and Cambodia. He is currently an honorary visiting fellow at the ANU Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies. He has written extensively on Australian national security and refugee policies in Australia’s national print media, including the Australian Financial Review, Canberra Times, and the Sydney Morning Herald.