Boat carrying 200 capsizes in remote waters off Australia | News | DW | 21.06.2012
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Boat carrying 200 capsizes in remote waters off Australia

A boat believed to be carrying 200 suspected asylum seekers has sunk in remote seas off Australia's Christmas Island. The number of survivors was unknown.

Australian authorities said the vessel capsized in Indonesian waters 120 nautical miles north of Christmas Island. Indonesian rescuers were leading the rescue operations.

"We can confirm there are survivors, but we can't confirm numbers at this stage," Australian Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said Wednesday.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said it had received a distress call from the ship, saying it had sunk 120 nautical miles north of Christmas Island, around 2,600 kilometers (1,600 miles) off mainland Australia.

Refugees often set sail from Indonesia for Australia in dangerous and crowded boats.

Australian authorities intercepted numerous other vessels in the area carrying more than 100 passengers over the previous 24 hours.

Nearly 50 refugees were killed when their boat sank in a storm in Indonesian waters on the way to Christmas Island in December 2010.

ncy/rg (AFP, Reuters)