Border Protection Command intercepts vessel

Minister for Home Affairs
The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Media Release
22 November 2011

HMAS Maitland, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north east of Christmas Island this afternoon.

Initial indications suggest there are approximately 116 passengers and five crew on board.

The vessel was detected late last night after a search coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) following a phone call to police. AMSA tasked both an AMSA dedicated search and rescue Dornier aircraft and a RAAF maritime patrol aircraft to the area of the vesselís location.

After locating and making contact with the vessel, AMSA determined that while it was not in any immediate danger, the number of people on board and the small amount of safety equipment was of concern and made arrangements for HMAS Maitland to monitor the vessel overnight en route to Christmas Island.

Border Protection Command has transferred the people from the vessel to Christmas Island, where they will undergo initial security, health and identity checks and their reasons for travel will be established.

Media contact: Maria Hawthorne

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