An asylum seeker boat carrying 197 passengers has been intercepted off Christmas Island, in one of the largest groups to arrive so far this year.
Navy patrol boat HMAS Bathurst and Australian Customs Vessel Triton, operating under the co-ordination of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Co-ordination Centre, provided help to the suspected irregular entry vessel after it sought assistance northeast of Christmas Island overnight.
Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said initial indications suggest there were 197 people on board.
They have now been transferred to Christmas Island to undergo initial security, health and identity checks and to establish their reasons for travel.
Most asylum seeker boats carry fewer than 100 passengers but on June 2, one carrying 204 was intercepted. Some carry just a few, with a vessel intercepted on May 17 transporting just one passenger and one crewman.