Australian navy intercepts 119 asylum seekers

Melbourne: A boat carrying 119 asylum seekers has been intercepted by the Australian Navy off the country’s west coast, the immigration department has said.

The HMAS Maryborough, operating under the Border Protection, intercepted the boat of asylum seekers around 35 km north of Christmas Island, Xinhua reported.

The 119 passengers and two crew members on board will be transferred to Christmas Island where they will undergo initial security, health and identity, officials said.

Opposition border protection spokesman Michael Keenan said this proved that the people smuggler trade was thriving in 2012. The arrival of three boats in the first week of the New Year demonstrated the ruling Labor government’s failed policy on border protection, he said.