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Wednesday, June 27 , 2012 - 6.05 GMT
Another asylum seeker boat capsizes near Australia


Another asylum seeker boat capsized en route to Australia. Up to 150 people are believed to have been on board the vessel which has capsized 107 nautical miles north of Christmas Island, says Australian Associated Press (AAP) today (27).

According to the Refugee advocates at least two boats, carrying up to 50 people, disappeared off the Indian south coast late last year.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) says two merchant vessels are already on the scene. "They are recovering survivors," AMSA spokeswoman Jo Meehan told AAP.

Australia has notified Indonesia's BASARNAS rescue organization but it is not yet clear whether it will assist with the rescue effort, the report said.

Meehan says it is too early to confirm how many people were on board the boat and how many survivors have already been rescued.

Sea conditions in the area are "fair but not ideal", she said. Australian Customs and Border Protection was unable to confirm the number of people on board.

"Border Protection Command has also deployed its vessels and aircraft to assist with the operation," it said in a brief statement.

The incident comes just a week after an estimated 90 people died when their overcrowded vessel capsized between Indonesia and Christmas Island.

That tragedy sparked renewed debate about how to stop the flow of boats to Australia but the major parties have been unable to reach a compromise solution.

So far this year, more than 50 boats carrying more than 4,000 asylum seekers have been detected by Australian authorities.

The trip is often dangerous. In December 2011, as many as 200 died when an overcrowded boat sank off the coast of East Java. In 2010, 50 asylum seekers died when their boat was thrown onto rocks at Christmas Island.

In 2001, a crowded boat known as the SIEV X sank on its way to Australia with the loss of 350 lives.


  005 TD  



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