130 Saved in Another Christmas Island Sinking

Tragedy marks 2nd capsizing in one week
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2012 9:00 AM CDT
130 Saved in Another Christmas Island Sinking
This photo released by Australian Maritime Safety Authority shows a boat carrying asylum seekers 120 miles north of Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean hours before capsizing June 27, 2012.   (AP Photo/Australian Maritime Safety Authority)

For the second time in a week, a boat crowded with asylum seekers sank off Christmas Island—but this time, at least 130 of the estimated 150 on board have been rescued, the AP reports. In Thursday's capsizing, which happened in the same area—a popular destination for refugees hoping to make it to Australia—110 of the 200 passengers were rescued, the BBC adds. The two tragedies prompted Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to once again consider a deal with Malaysia that would end its deadlock on asylum seekers, Reuters reports.

Under the deal, favored by the ruling Labor Party and meant to deter human smuggling, Australia would send 800 newly arrived refugees to Malaysia to be processed and have their claims investigated. In return, over a period of four years, Australia would receive 4,000 asylum seekers who are recognized by the UN as genuine refugees. But the opposing Liberal Party rejects that plan, and instead calls for an immigration detention center on the Pacific island nation of Nauru to be reopened for refugees who arrive by boat. One body from today's disaster has been recovered so far. (Read more Christmas Island stories.)

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