An asylum seeker boat which broadcast a distress call off Christmas Island has been found.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority says it received reports around midnight (AWST) that the boat was having engine problems and was filling with smoke.

A merchant vessel was diverted to the area and was later joined by HMAS Pirie but neither could find it.

The boat carrying 64 people was eventually found by the navy early this morning 60 nautical miles off the island.

All on board have been transferred to HMAS Pirie.

In the past two days, four boats carrying more than 340 asylum seekers have been intercepted in the area.

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