6 May 2013

Asylum-seekers heading for NZ, review confirms

4:14 pm on 6 May 2013

A review by Australia's Customs and Border Protection Service has confirmed New Zealand was the intended destination of a boat-load of asylum-seekers.

The review looked into how a fishing boat carrying 66 people from Sri Lanka made it to the Australian mainland undetected - the first to do so in about five years, AAP reports.

The captain put into shore at the busy West Australian port of Geraldton because of weather delays and safety concerns on 9 April this year.

The boat made it within metres of land before being intercepted by two local men in a dinghy.

Customs said on Monday it would not be releasing the review publicly because it contains operational, intelligence and security information.

Instead, it released a short statement saying that authorities had responded to the incident appropriately with border protection aircraft and vessels deployed, and the onshore response to the arrival was managed effectively.