13 Sep 2009

Another boat of asylum seekers intercepted

1:06 pm on 13 September 2009

The Australian Navy has intercepted a second boat carrying more suspected asylum-seekers only hours after boarding another vessel off the northern coast of the continent.

The second boat was intercepted near northern Ashmore Island at 7pm (local time) on Saturday by HMAS Maitland.

According to the opposition, the latest intercept is the 31st such arrival this year.

Two other boats carrying asylum seekers were intercepted last week: one on Friday night and another on Monday.

The latest intercepted vessels carried more than 150 people and have fueled opposition demands for an inquiry.

The opposition accuses the federal government of being too soft on the issue.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said 68 people were thought to be on board the latest boat, including three crew members.

They are to be transferred to Christmas Island, along with another 87 people picked up earlier on Saturday.

All those detained are to be transferred to Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.