Australia search after Indonesia boat distress call
Australia's maritime authority is responding to a distress call from a boat in waters off Indonesia.
The incident comes a day after leaders of the two countries pledged increased co-operation on people-smuggling, following the sinking of two asylum-seeker boats last month.
The boat is believed to be ferrying between 130 to 180 people, according to Australian authorities.
It was between Christmas Island and Indonesia when it sent the signal.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has called on commercial ships in the vicinity to help and an Australian navy ship was the way to the area.
The boat appeared to be trying to turn back towards Indonesia to head for shore, Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare told Australian media.
Christmas Island, which lies off Australia's north-west coast, is closer to Indonesia than Australia. It is targeted by asylum-seekers hoping to get to Australia who usually sail on over-crowded, poorly-maintained boats.
People-smuggling was top on the agenda when Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono met in Darwin on Tuesday.
The two leaders said they had agreed to work together to improve joint reaction to incidents involving asylum-seeker boats.
Two asylum-seeker boats sank in waters between the two countries last month.
One boat sank off Christmas Island on 21 June. A total of 110 people were rescued and 17 bodies were found, but it was believed to have been carrying up to 200 people.
At least four people are believed to have died a week later when another boat sank in the area.
Australian authorities want to find ways of deterring people from making the dangerous journey but the two main parties are deadlocked on how to tackle the issue.
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