The first Australian Refugee Boat To Mersin

After work Friday I walked to the Mersin city centre and up north to the Taksim International Hotel. When asked if the Australian refugees were going to be housed in the Taksim a security guard said, no, they were to be housed in the other hotels.

The Taksim International Hotel at night

At 10:30 pm I went to bed and set the alarm for 2 am. The first boat of Australian refugees were to arrive from Lebanon at 2:30 am on the Su Express, the same boat used for the Mersin-Latakia ferry service.

Mersin-Latakia ferry advert

At the ferry terminal I walked upstairs to the area overlooking the ferry dock. There, various media gathered, including James, Fiona and Stuart from lunch along with ABC TV Foreign Correspondent Representative in Turkey, Serpil Karacan Sellars and various other Turkish media.

James wasn’t feeling well at all and a had a case of the dreaded food poisoning (not from lunch!)

Then, the Jean Dunn, the Australian Ambassador to Turkey, arrived to give a briefing. 340 Australian refugees were to arrive on the Su Express coming from Lebanon via a break and refuelling in Magosa, Northern Cyprus.

Clockwise from the front: James (in foreground), Elif (the Australian Embassy Media Liaison), Stuart, Fiona, Jean and Serpil.

As a sidenote: I did not realise until yesterday (24th) that Elif was the wife a regular commenter here and an allround good guy Oz Kanka!

In the next blog installment: the refugees arrive.

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