The 54 asylum seekers, some in poor health, were picked up yesterday afternoon after fishermen spotted their wooden vessel being buffeted by large waves.
One of the fishermen involved in the rescue, identified as Jamali, said the boat had been damaged and its engine had broken down.
He said the boat had been spotted about 12km out to sea. The fishermen had been working in the area.
“They saw a vessel full of passengers just being washed back and forth on the waves. The boat’s passengers were calling out for help, food and water,” he told reporters, according to the Jakarta Globe newspaper.
“Their condition was very concerning,” Jamali said. “A number of them were weak from dehydration and hunger.”
The asylum seekers have been accommodated at a mosque in the village of Blukat Teubai.
Indonesia is the chief transit point for asylum seekers heading to Australia but it is less common for the boats to leave from Aceh, in the west of the archipelago.
It is possible the group left for Australia from Malaysia.