Drug-runners transferred to island prison to face a firing squad.

An old school friend of Andrew Chan has revealed the convicted drug smuggler never thought his impending execution would actually happen.

The revelation came as new emerged that Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop made a final bid to have the Bali Nine duo spared by offering to handover three Indonesian prisoners being held in Australia.

Sami, who did not wish to give his last name, had been exchanging text messages with the convicted drug smuggler up until late Tuesday night before the Australian was transferred to Nusakambangan in Central Java from Bali's Kerobokan prison.

One of Indonesian police armored vehicles carrying two Australian prisoners arrives at Wijaya Pura port in Cilacap Indonesia. Photo / AP
One of Indonesian police armored vehicles carrying two Australian prisoners arrives at Wijaya Pura port in Cilacap Indonesia. Photo / AP

The friend, who has known Chan since they met in Year 7 at Homebush Boys High in Sydney's west, told 9News the Bali Nine ringleader was calm when they spoke through text messaging application, Whatsapp.

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"Even he thought it was never going to happen because he thought we're in the limelight - it'll cool down, it'll be alright," Sami said.

"So I always said, 'Yeah mate, definitely - you're in good hands.'"
At least once during their exchange, Chan text him "all good bro".

Sami added Chan kept positive throughout the ordeal and said: "I think he [Chan] was really expecting the Australian government to do a lot more."

Indonesian traffic police block a road in front of a prison during the transfer of Australian death row prisoners, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Bali, Indonesia. Photo / AP
Indonesian traffic police block a road in front of a prison during the transfer of Australian death row prisoners, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Bali, Indonesia. Photo / AP

It comes as it is revealed Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop made a desperate plea to Jakarta officials to swap Chan and fellow Bali Nine member Myuran Sukuraman for three Indonesian drug offenders being held in Australia.

Ms Bishop proposed the deal in a "very tense" phone call with Indonesian foreign affairs minister Retno Marsudi, The Australian reported.

The call became so intense that it was feared Ms Marsudi would put a sudden end to the conversation.

The prisoners up for negotiation were three Indonesians caught smuggling 252 kilograms of heroin into Australia by sea in 2000.

Kristito Mandagiand - who masterminded the plan - was handed the most severe sentence of 25 years without parole for drug smuggling.

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While the two people who helped him, Saud Siregar and Ismunandar, will spend up to 20 years in prison and can apply for parole in 2017.

In exchange for the trio, Ms Bishop wanted Chan and Sukuraman's death sentences reduced to life in prison.

But the suggestion, which was made during a 30-minute conversation, was not accepted by the government, according to sources.

This exchange was offered up after Chan and Sukuraman were transferred from Kerobokan prison - which had been their home for 10 years - on Wednesday.

Chan's brother, Michael, and girlfriend, Febyanti Herewila, tried to visit the inmate before he was put into an armoured car but were rebuffed by prison officers.

Later that day, Michael Chan told News Corp he was "devastated" and in shock that his brother's execution was going ahead.

"I am still trying to register it all. I still can't believe it has happened. I don't even know what to say to be quite frank," he said.

It is not known when Chan and Sukuraman will be executed but Fairfax Media is reporting they will be shot dead this weekend.

Indonesia's attorney general H.M. Prasetyo is tipped to make an announcement about the time of their deaths on Friday.

The pair will be given 72 hours' notice before they are killed by a firing squad at Nusakambangan.

Indonesia has allocated about $20,000 for each prisoner in its "execution budget" to kill the duo.

Nusakambangan was chosen as the venue for their deaths because it was cheaper than other locations.

- Daily Mail