19 Nov 2009

More Sri Lanka asylum-seekers leave ship

5:20 am on 19 November 2009

More than half the 56 Sri Lankans in a standoff with Australian authorities off Indonesia have disembarked from the ship that rescued them.

Indonesian officials say that, like 22 others who disembarked last Friday, they have agreed to be taken to an Australian-funded detention centre in Tanjung Pinang on Bintan island.

The Australian vessel the Oceanic Viking picked up 78 Tamil asylum-seekers in international waters off Indonesia more than a month ago after they issued a distress call in the Indonesian search and rescue zone.

Australia has offered resettlement within six weeks to those who have already been confirmed as genuine refugees.