September 06, 2012
Australian authorities have gone to the aid of a boat carrying 63 suspected asylum seekers off the West Australian coast.
The vessel, which arrived on Wednesday afternoon, is the third asylum-seeker boat in 24 hours to reach Australian waters.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority Rescue Coordination Centre coordinated a search and rescue operation before finding it north-west of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Home Affairs minister Jason Clare said in a statement on Thursday.
Merchant vessel TW Manila picked up the 63 passengers and they arrived at Christmas Island on Thursday morning to undergo security, health and identity checks.
Two other vessels, carrying a total of 146 passengers, arrived in Australian waters earlier on Wednesday.
HMAS Launceston found one boat north-east of Ashmore Islands with 80 passengers on board while the other with with 66 passengers was found north-west of Christmas Island and assisted by HMAS Childers and HMAS Maitland.
“People arriving by boat without a visa after 13 August 2012 run the risk of transfer to a regional processing country,” Mr Clare said.