7 Aug 2011

Asylum seekers' boat intercepted in Australian waters

4:09 pm on 7 August 2011

Another boat carrying asylum seekers has been intercepted in Australian waters.

It is the second vessel to be stopped since Julia Gillard's government signed its controversial swap deal with Malaysia last month.

Under the deal, the asylum seekers will be taken to Christmas Island for pre-transfer assessments, pending removal to Malaysia.

There are thought to be 50 passengers and two crew on board.

The boat was intercepted by border protection command northeast of Christmas Island on Sunday morning.

More federal police arrive on Christmas Island

More Australian federal police officers have arrived on Christmas Island as the Immigration Department prepares to transfer the first group of asylum seekers to Malaysia.

The ABC reports the first group of 15 men is expected to be transferred in the next few days.

They are part of a group of 55 people, which includes 18 children.

A group of 38 federal police landed on the Island late on Saturday, boosting the total number of officers on the island to just over 100.

The officers will be escorting asylum seekers to Malaysia.

Some of those bound for Malaysia are reportedly on a hunger strike. But the Immigration Department says it is not aware of anyone on a hunger strike.

It says it is aware of some detainees missing meals, but it could be because they are observing Ramadan.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says reports of the hunger strike will not change the government's decision to send asylum seekers to Malaysia.