At least 22 people died, 33 went missing, and 25 survived when a ship carrying scores of people seeking asylum in Australia sank in waters south of the Indonesian island of Java.

Among the fatalities were four children, Indonesian official Haris Bahtiar told that country's news service.

The group of survivors, which includes women and children, was taken to an Islamic school in the Cianjur regency of western Java.

"To save themselves, the survivors swam to the coast of Agrabinta, some 200 meters (650 feet) away from where the ship sank," Bahtiar told the news service.

Australia's ABC radio said that rough seas early in the day hindered the search for missing persons.

Some 80 undocumented immigrants, citizens of Lebanon, Iraq and Pakistan, were traveling in the vessel at the time of Friday's shipwreck, according to a report by Indonesian authorities, though local media raise the number of people on board to 120.

Indonesia has become a country of transit for gangs smuggling people seeking asylum into Australia, and the point of entry is usually Christmas Island, an Australian territory located some 360 kilometers (225 miles) south of Jakarta.

Between January and August of this year, 218 ships with 15,182 passengers aboard, mostly immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Iran and Sri Lanka, have tried to enter Australia illegally to seek asylum. EFE