1 Sep 2012

Search for more survivors called off

5:41 pm on 1 September 2012

The search for more survivors from the latest asylum-seeker boat disaster has been abandoned.

Searchers believe there is now no chance of anyone else being found alive from the wooden boat that sank in Sunda Strait, near Java.

The vessel was en route to Australia when its pump failed, prompting a distress call on Wednesday.

Fifty-five survivors have been brought to Merak in western Java but nearly 100 others are presumed drowned.

Those brought ashore will be processed by Indonesian authorities, and placed in detention.

Unlike in other incidents in recent months involving asylum seeker boats in distress, the Australian government refused to take these survivors to Christmas Island, and insisted they be returned to Indonesia.

More than 300 asylum seekers have died since December travelling along the same route - in the Sunda Strait between Indonesia and Christmas Island.