Asylum seeker boat intercepted

ANOTHER asylum seeker boat - this time carrying 146 passengers and three crew - was intercepted yesterday, the fourth boat to arrive since Friday.

It brings to 479 the number of people authorities will need to process.

Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said that ''for operational and safety reasons'' Border Protection Command would transfer 134 people to Darwin for health, security and identity checks, while 15 would be transferred to Christmas Island.

People arriving by boat without a visa after August 13 this year run the risk of transfer to a regional processing country, but the boats continue to come.

On Saturday, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announced 28 Sri Lankan men had agreed to drop their claims for asylum and return home from Christmas Island.

The men had arrived both before and after tough new measures were announced, although most arrived after that date and faced transfer and indefinite detention on Nauru or Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.

They were transferred from detention facilities on Nauru, Christmas Island and the mainland and flown on a charter flight from Christmas Island to Colombo.

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