The fishing boat carrying 66 Sri Lankans was flying the New Zealand flag. Photo / Graeme Gibbons
The fishing boat carrying 66 Sri Lankans was flying the New Zealand flag. Photo / Graeme Gibbons

Asylum seekers land in Australia - but want to go to NZ

A RAMSHACKLE fishing boat carrying 66 suspected asylum seekers from Sri Lanka has arrived in Australia - carrying passengers holding a sign saying "We want to go to New Zealand".

The overcrowded wooden fishing vessel carrying men, women and children was spotted off the coast of Geraldton, about 400km north of Perth in Western Australia.

It is believed to be the first boat to have travelled so far south in recent years.

Most asylum seekers arrive near Christmas Island, more than 2000km north, where they are usually intercepted.

The boat, thought to have been at sea for 44 days, was spotted by two local men testing the motor of a dinghy about 500m offshore.

It was met by customs and police officers about 12pm yesterday and towed into harbour.

Photographs show a group of passengers holding a sign with the words: "We want to go to New Zealand. Please help us".

A New Zealand flag was flying on the boat.

The passengers included four babies and a pregnant woman.

More on this story at NZ Herald


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