Hard-hulled lifeboats have been purchased by the Abbott Government and could be used to send asylum seekers back to Indonesia, according to a Fairfax Media report.
This comes as Indonesian police claim two boats have recently been turned back by the Australian Navy, which Fairfax says its sources have confirmed.
Reportedly 12 of the boats have been purchased, which could be fuelled and loaded with food, then used to transport asylum seekers back to their port of origin. They are described as similar to the ones carried by cruise ships and oil tankers.
This could prevent smugglers using old boats with can be scuttled, forcing the Navy to take passengers onboard and ensuring processing by Australian authorities.
Immigration minister Scott Morrison would not comment on whether the boats had been purchased or what they would be used for.
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