The Department of Immigration and Border Protection referred questions to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton but his spokeswoman said it was a long-standing policy that the government did not comment on operational matters.
A suspected asylum seeker boat is reportedly approaching Western Australia’s north coast.
He could not comment on the number of people on board but thewest.com.au understands children are onboard the boat.
If confirmed as asylum seekers, it would be the first “illegal” vessel entry into Australia since June 2014.
They were sent to Christmas Island.
Everyone who arrives is detained.
“There was a small fishing vessel spotted by the crew”, he said.
“The feedback [from staff] is that they appeared to be in high spirits”, said Mr Kennedy.
Kennedy said the tanker’s crew contacted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which was sending a search plane to check on the boat.
The police boat Delphinus is reported to be on its way to check the sighting.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Liberal Party members last month that “for nearly 12 months there have been no boats whatsoever”.