Asylum seekers feared dead
Thu, 30 Aug 2012 12:35p.m.
By 3 News online staff
Six asylum seekers have been rescued near the Indonesian island of Java this morning by a cargo vessel, but many more are feared dead.
The crew of the stricken vessel reported that 150 people were on board.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority received a distress call from the boat yesterday morning, then this morning merchant vessel APL Bahrain reported seeing people in the water and began to help survivors, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Another merchant vessel Gwendolin has also been searching for survivors.
An Australian navy boat and two Indonesian boats were also heading to the area to help.
This comes as Prime Minister John Key says he's not ruling out setting up an offshore detention centre to process asylum seekers.
Mr Key made the comments when he met with Australian counterpart Julia Gillard this morning at the Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga.
Mr Key says New Zealand won't support Australia re-opening two detention centres in Nauru and Manus Island but he does believe New Zealand shouldn't discount the chance of asylum seekers arriving here.
Ms Gillard has signed a memorandum of understanding with Nauru to reopen the centres.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit the forum this week and one of the hot topics set to be discussed is the growing influence of China in the Pacific region.
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