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Boat carrying 153 asylum-seekers in trouble, say Australian activists

Published on Jun 28, 2014 12:31 PM

SYDNEY (AFP) - Refugee campaigners said on Saturday that a boat carrying 153 asylum-seekers was in trouble off a remote Australian island, but the government said there were no significant incidents at sea to report.

The 22-metre boat carrying mostly Tamil asylum-seekers, including women and children, left India two weeks ago and was 175 nautical miles west of Australia's Indian Ocean territory of Christmas Island, the Refugee Action Coalition said.

"We are refugees. We come from Sri Lanka - we stayed in India and we are unable to live there. That's why we are coming to Australia," a man who claimed to be onboard told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The man, who only gave his first name as Duke, said there were 32 women and 37 children on the vessel which would be, if it reaches Christmas Island, the first asylum-seeker boat to reach Australia in six months.

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