15 Dec 2011

Tragic anniversary marked at Christmas Island

1:08 pm on 15 December 2011

A memorial service will be held on Christmas Island on Thursday to mark 12 months since a boat carrying asylum seekers crashed on the rocks there, killing up to 50 people.

Early on the morning of 15 December, an Indonesian fishing vessel with about 100 assengers, mostly Iranian and Iraqis, was tossed by wild seas onto rocks on the shore of Christmas Island.

The ABC reports 42 on board were rescued and 35 have since been granted permanent residency, including three orphans.

Immigration agent Fahid Nikjoo says some of the survivors are finding life extremely difficult in Sydney.

''They can't work, they have housing issues, they have ongoing medical issues and mental issues,'' he said.

''No-one can imagine the trauma in some cases. They lost very close family members, wives, children - I can't see them coping or being normal people in the near future."

Indian Ocean Territories deputy administrator Catherine Wildermuth says the service will be held at a memorial that was recently built to commemorate the tragedy.

The ABC reports an inquest is expected to reconvene later this month.