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22 dead, scores missing as asylum boat sinks off Indonesia

At least 22 people, mostly children, drowned and scores are missing after an Australia-bound boat carrying Middle Eastern asylum-seekers sank off Indonesia Friday in rough seas, police said. Twenty-five people were plucked to safety but more than 70 were unaccounted for after the boat carrying people from Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen went down off the main Indonesian island of Java, police said.

Australian navy takes asylum-seekers back to Indonesia

The Australian navy has taken 44 asylum-seekers rescued at sea back to Indonesia, an official said Friday, days before Australia's new premier visits the country for talks on his controversial boatpeople policy. However, the rescue was carried out under an existing agreement between Jakarta and Canberra and not in the framework of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's new tow-back policy.

Five missing, 106 rescued from asylum-seeker boat in Australia

"The vessel was upright, but partially submerged. A number of people were sighted in the water," an AMSA spokeswoman said of the scene when the navy ship HMAS Parramatta arrived.

Indonesia searches for missing Australia-bound boatpeople

Rescuers searched the seas off Indonesia's Java island Wednesday for possibly dozens of asylum-seekers missing after their Australia-bound boat sank, leaving at least seven confirmed dead and 156 survivors. Five children including an 18-month-old baby were among the dead, local police spokesman Achmad Suprijatna said, adding that a pregnant woman and a man in his 30s also died.

Indonesia searches for missing Australia-bound boatpeople

Rescuers searched the seas off Indonesia's Java island Wednesday for possibly dozens of asylum-seekers missing after their Australia-bound boat sank, leaving at least three dead, with 157 saved, an official said. Local rescue officials estimated there could have been "up to 200" passengers on the boat which was bound for Australia, while a survivor said some 250 had boarded the vessel. "The 157 rescued have been taken to an immigration centre, where they have been given food and water," head of the rescue operation Rochmali, who only goes by one name, told AFP.

Australia says asylum boats 'god-awful' problem

Asylum-seekers drowning on the treacherous boat journey to Australia presented a "god-awful" problem, Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said Wednesday after four more deaths were reported following a dramatic sea rescue. Authorities pulled 144 people from the surging waters off the Indian Ocean territory of Christmas Island late Tuesday, but they also recovered four bodies after the ship carrying an estimated 150 people capsized and sank. "This is a wretchedly difficult area and it has been poisoned by politics," Clare said of boatpeople.

Four dead in Australia refugee boat sinking

Four asylum-seekers died after a people-smuggling ship carrying around 150 passengers capsized off Australia's remote Christmas Island Tuesday, triggering a major rescue operation. The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service said the vessel overturned as it was being escorted in heavy weather to the island by two navy ships, after issuing a distress call earlier in the day. "HMAS Warramunga rescued 76 people from the water and HMAS Albany rescued 68 people from the water. Tragically, four deceased persons were recovered," Customs said in a statement.

Boat with 150 asylum-seekers capsizes off Australia

A boat carrying some 150 asylum-seekers capsized off Christmas Island Tuesday but the Australian navy saved most of them, rescuers said. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said two navy ships were at the scene 70 nautical miles off the island, which is northwest of the Australian mainland. "There were around 150 people on board," an AMSA spokesman told AFP, after an earlier tweet from the authority said up to 180 were on the boat.

Australia ends air and sea search for asylum-seekers

Australian authorities said Monday they had called off a major air and sea search for survivors from a boat carrying at least 55 asylum-seekers which disappeared suddenly off a remote Indian Ocean territory. Officials late Sunday halted the search for the vessel off Christmas Island -- which was seen before it went down carrying men, women and children -- after failing to find anyone alive.

Australia search for asylum-seeker boat feared sunk

Australian authorities were Saturday scrambling to locate an asylum-seeker boat feared to have sunk off the remote Indian Ocean territory of Christmas Island, officials said. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the search, said a navy vessel and two merchant ships along with three aircraft were searching the area about 65 nautical miles northwest of Christmas Island following a tip-off from customs and border protection officials on Friday morning.
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