Melbourne: Over 200 asylum seekers, trying
to enter the country in two boats near the West Australian
border, have been taken into custody by the Australian border
The boats were carrying 110 and 103 passengers, according
to an AAP report.
In the past month, three other vessels, carrying more
than 90 people, were intercepted.
"Border Protection Command will now make arrangements for
the passengers to be transferred to Christmas Island, where
they will undergo initial security, health and identity checks
and their reasons for travel will be established," Home
Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said in a statement.
"The minister for immigration has been expediting the
process in recent times, that's certainly relieved the
pressure on our resources on Christmas Island," he said.
"But when you're getting vessels of this size, arriving
in this manner, of course it places greater pressure on our
The news of arrivals has come ahead of this weekend's
Australian labor party National Conference, at which
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen will propose boosting
Australia's refugee intake from 13,750 to 20,000 a year.
First Published: Thursday, December 01, 2011, 12:49