Migrant ships and Canada: A brief history
A cargo ship off British Columbia is carrying hundreds of migrants seeking refuge in Canada. Here are some past instances of refugees and migrants coming to Canada in boats:
June 2010: Border officials in Nova Scotia spot a 13-metre sailboat approaching Shelburne and those on board are detained. Two men are charged with trying to smuggle eight people from Eastern Europe into the country.
October 2009: Officials intercept the Ocean Lady, a ship carrying 76 Sri Lankans trying to gain entry into Canada via British Columbia. All passengers are arrested but eventually released pending resolution of their refugee claims.
Summer of 1999: Four different ships arrive off the British Columbia coast carrying 600 mostly Chinese migrants. Of 577 who make refugee claims, only 24 are granted refugee status. They had paid human smugglers for the perilous journey.
October 1996: A home-made boat carrying 11 people capsizes near Cornwall, Ont. A 51-year-old Pakistani woman drowns; five members of her family taken into custody. One passenger tells an inquiry he paid a smuggler from New Delhi $3,700 US to put him on a cargo boat going from India to Toronto, which was to be a stopover on the way to New York.
July 1987: 173 men and one woman from India, mostly Sikhs from Punjab state, wade ashore on Nova Scotia's southwestern shore. The battered freighter that carried them, the Amelie, later seized by RCMP at sea and towed to Halifax. Sikhs claimed refugee status for being persecuted in their homeland.
August 1986: Fishermen rescue 152 men, women, children from Sri Lanka crammed into two 10-metre-long open lifeboats off Newfoundland coast. The Sri Lankans, Tamils who say they are seeking refugee status because of persecution in their homeland, were in the lifeboats for about five days after being dropped off Canada's east coast by a larger ship. They told the RCMP they paid $3,000 to $5,000 US to be taken to Canada or the United States.
1939: The MS St. Louis sets sail from Germany carrying more than 900 Jews fleeing the Nazi regime. Canada joins Cuba and the United States in refusing to allow the vessel to land. The ship returns to Europe, where more than 250 of the passengers eventually die in the Holocaust.
1924: Ship carrying 124 Sikh men tries to land on Canada's west coast. It is eventually sent back to India with all passengers on board.
1914: Japanese freighter Komagata Maru lands in Vancouver with 376 passengers, mostly Sikhs, from India. Exclusion policies ensure the migrants are denied permission to enter Canada and the ship remains in harbour for two months. It is eventually forced back out to sea and returns to India, where 20 of the passengers are killed after disembarking.