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Page last updated at 04:30 GMT, Sunday, 18 October 2009 05:30 UK

Canadians intercept migrant ship

People being led off the Ocean Lady at Ogden Point, Victoria, 17 October 2009
The Ocean Lady was taken to Ogden Point, Victoria

A ship carrying 76 suspected illegal migrants has been seized off Canada's Pacific coast, officials say.

Those on board the ship said they were trying to reach Canada, according to local authorities.

The identity of the migrants was not confirmed, although Canada's public safety minister said there were indications they were from Sri Lanka.

He said it appeared to be a case of human smuggling. The migrants, all men, were said to be in good health.

The merchant vessel, named Ocean Lady, was intercepted by a navy frigate off Vancouver Island before being escorted to a dock in Ogden Point in Victoria, British Columbia.

Officials there were carrying out health and safety and immigration checks.

Those on board the ship were pictured wearing civilian clothes. Some were shirtless.

"The signs do point toward human smuggling," said the public safety minister, Peter Van Loan.

Several ships attempting to smuggle migrants from China to Canada's Pacific coast were intercepted off Vancouver Island a decade ago.



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