Another boatload of asylum seekers has been intercepted off Australia's northwest coast.
The vessel, carrying 54 passengers and two crew, was intercepted on Saturday before it could make it to Australian waters.
It was intercepted in international waters, 90 nautical miles southwest of Ashmore Island, approximately 900km from Darwin, by the Royal Australian Navy patrol boat HMAS Albany.
The people on the boat voluntarily transferred to HMAS Albany, Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus said in a statement.
It is the eighth boat of asylum seekers to approach Australian waters this year.
The group will be taken to Christmas Island where they will undergo health, security and other checks to establish their identity and reasons for their voyage, the statement said.
The interception came as another boatload of asylum seekers was transferred to Christmas Island.
That boat, carrying 32 Sri Lankan men, was intercepted near Barrow Island, off the West Australian coast, on Wednesday.
It was escorted to Christmas Island by a navy vessel and arrived as scheduled at 8.20am local time on Saturday, a Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman said.
The seventh boat to arrive in Australian waters this year, it was intercepted less than a week after a vessel carrying 47 asylum seekers and two crew exploded, killing five Afghans and injuring dozens of others, on April 16.
Mr Debus said initial indications were that there were 54 passengers and two crew on board the boat intercepted on Saturday.
A spokeswoman for Mr Debus was unable to confirm how far from Australian waters the boat was intercepted or where the people on the boat were from.
An oil rig tender vessel had tipped off the Customs and Border Protection hotline about the vessel.
The sighting was then confirmed by a Customs and Border Protection Command Dash 8 aircraft.
Within an hour of receiving the alert, HMAS Albany, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, had intercepted the boat, the...