RORO, Wilhelmsen Lines (NOR)
Ecluse Vandamme Locks
In August 2001, under Captain Arne Rinnan, a diplomatic dispute brewed
between Australia, Norway, and Indonesia after Tampa rescued 438 Afghans
from a distressed fishing vessel in international waters. The Afghans
wanted passage to nearby Christmas Island. The Australian government
sought to prevent this by refusing Tampa entry into Australian waters,
insisting on their disembarkment elsewhere, and deploying the SASR
to board the ship. At the time of the incident, Tampa carried cargo worth
A$20 million, and 27 crew.
The crew of Tampa received the Nansen Refugee Award for 2002 from
the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for their efforts
to follow international principles of saving people in distress at sea.