The captain of the MS Tampa, carrying 438 asylum seekers (420 from Afghanistan), declared a state of emergency and proceeded to enter Australian territorial waters, despite Australian government orders not to. The Australian government responded by dispatching Australian troops to board the ship and prevent it from approaching any further to Christmas Island. The MS Tampa captain was instructed to move the ship back into international waters[?]. He refused. The Norwegian government warned the Australian government not to seek to force the ship to return to international waters against the captain's will. The Australian government tried to persuade Indonesia to accept the asylum seekers; Indonesia refused. The refugees were loaded onto an Australian Navy vessel. Most were transported to the small island country of Nauru and the rest to New Zealand.
438 asylum seekers (420 from Afghanistan) were saved from a sinking Indonesian vessel by the MS Tampa. The captain planned to take the asylum seekers to Indonesia, but the asylum seekers aparently threatened the captain and allegedly said they would jump overboard unless they were taken to Australia, prompting the captain set sail for Christmas Island instead. The Australian government however refused permission for the ship to enter Australia's territorial waters.