Asylum seekers discovered on Wednesday night on the Indonesian coast say they were nearly ready to disembark at Christmas Island when the Australian Navy sent them back.
The asylum seekers say they made it close to Christmas Island when the Australian Navy intercepted them.
All but two were transferred onto an orange lifeboat and sent back to Indonesia, where the craft was beached on the south coast of Java on Wednesday evening.
The Indonesian navy says 34 people were on board the lifeboat.
The ABC says the Indonesian navy this week decided to boost personnel numbers on the southern coast of Java.