The journalists, Luke Mogelson from the US and photojournalist Joel van Houdt from the Netherlands, were sunburned but in good health after hitching a ride like so many do in hope of a safer life in Australia.

The boat with 57 passengers and two crew on board was led to Christmas Island after the HMAS Armidale gave the passengers sustenance.

After being interviewed by the Federal Police, the Immigration Department confirmed to the ABC that the journalists showed the appropriate travel documents and visas and were free to go.

They were staying the night on Christmas Island.

The the girlfriend of Van Houdt, Amie Ferris-Rotman, told ABC that the pair were usually based in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Their boat journey was for a feature to run in The New York Times magazine.

“He’s a war photographer so he’s done embeds with the US army, done embeds with the Afghan army, which is even more worrying, but this trip gave me anxiety,” she told the ABC.

Images via Getty