30 Oct 2009

Another boat load of asylum seekers intercepted

2:35 pm on 30 October 2009

The Royal Australian Navy has intercepted a boat carrying 38 people near Ashmore Reef off the north west coast of Australia.

The ABC reports 19 boats have been intercepted in Australian waters since the start of last month, many of them carrying Sri Lankans.

It is not yet clear where the latest group are from, but the government says the 34 asylum seekers and four crew will be taken to Christmas Island for health and identity checks.

The ABC reports that will take the numbers in the detention centre to close to 1200 - the Government says it has a capacity of 1400.

Meanwhile, there have been calls for the government to end a stand-off in Indonesia over the customs ship Oceanic Viking which has 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers on board.

The Australian government is being urged to bring them to Christmas Island.

However, it is reluctant to do that and is still hoping for a breakthrough that will mean they disembark in Indonesia.