BORDER protection has intercepted two boats carrying suspected asylum seekers. The latest vessel was met by HMAS Maryborough north of Christmas Island on Wednesday carrying six passengers and two crew. Another boat, intercepted east of Ashmore Reef by HMAS Wollongong on Christmas Day, was carrying 95 passengers and three crew.

Passengers from both vessels will be transferred to Christmas Island for initial health, identity and security checks.

On Monday, the federal opposition claimed the number of asylum seekers arriving by sea under the Gillard government's watch had exceeded 25,000. ''One of the main excuses Julia Gillard had for outing former prime minister Kevin Rudd was his failure to protect Australia's borders,'' said Coalition border protection spokesman Michael Keenan in a statement.

With WIRES