A villager stands near body bags containing the dead bodies of asylum seekers, who were killed when their boat sank, at an Agrabinta health clinic on the outskirts of Sukabumi (Reuters)
With the planned use of the sturdy and safer vessel, it would hopefully stop the practice of asylum seekers of sabotaging the old fishing boats they used to reach Australia so Australian border authorities would have no choice except to rescue and take them in.
According to Fairfax Media, which reported the lifeboat purchase, the vessel would have roofs, is capable of ferrying dozes of asylum seekers and could carry food and water for at least one week. With sufficient food, water and fuel, the lifeboats could withstand a return journey to Indonesia.
However, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, who is at the centre of another migrant controversy involving a gay Pakistan-born man in a relationship with a Brisbane male doctor whose partnership visa application was rejected, neither confirmed nor denied the purchase of the 16 lifeboats.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the purchase, if true, "shows what tatters Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott's policy is in," quoted ABC.
"First we heard they were going to stop the boats, then they said we'll buy back the boats, now they're going to start giving away boats," she added.
The senator criticised the Abbott government for being obsessed "with doing everything they can to push refugees out of sight, out of mind rather than helping them."
Indonesia has condemned Australia's asylum seeker policy under the Abbott-led government amid reports that Australia ordered two asylum-seeker boats in recent weeks, as reported by Indonesian police.