Senior Indonesian diplomatic sources say the country’s Department of Foreign Affairs and military have both cleared the Australian customs vessel to stay in Indonesia until November 13.
Australia now has more time to persuade 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers to leave the ship and enter an Indonesian detention centre.
Australia has been trying for almost two weeks to convince the ethnic Tamils to voluntarily leave the Oceanic Viking and enter the Tanjung Pinang Detention Centre on the Indonesian island of Bintan.
They have refused, adamant they want to be taken to Australia even though the ship rescued them in international waters within Indonesia’s rescue zone.
‘No hope’ of breaking deadlock
AAP understands the extension will be announced after Indonesia’s Department of Transport gives the all clear, which is not expected to be a problem.
Diplomatic and security clearance for the ship to remain in Indonesia had been due to expire at midnight on Friday but Indonesia has agreed to give officials another week to persuade the Sri Lankans to leave the boat.
The extension comes despite the views of Indonesia’s most senior diplomatic official in Tanjung Pinang, Sujatmiko, who said on Thursday there was no hope of breaking the deadlock and the vessel should return to Australia.
In a written message thrown overboard on Thursday, the asylum seekers again made it clear they have no intention of coming ashore in Indonesia.
“We want to resettle to Australia, they told us we must go to Indonesia, but we are not ready to go back to Indonesia,” they said.
“This is our final decision. If Australian try to force back to Indonesia, we are going close our life in the ocean.”