August 14, 2012
Australian authorities have intercepted a boat carrying a suspected 71 asylum seekers off the West Australian coast.
HMAS Glenelg, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted the “suspected irregular entry” boat on Tuesday east of Ashmore Islands, Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said in a statement.
The boat was first detected by a Customs and Border Protection Dash 8 surveillance aircraft.
The passengers will be transferred to Christmas Island where they will undergo initial security, health and identity checks.
“People arriving by boat without a visa after 13 August 2012 run the risk of transfer to a regional processing country, upon passage of the current legislation,” Mr Clare said.
The latest announcement comes as debate continues on Tuesday night on the government’s asylum-seeker legislation.
The opposition has agreed to back the government’s asylum-seeker legislation but opposition MPs have queued up to slam the government’s record on the issue.