In August 2001, 433 people were rescued from a ship in the ocean between Indonesia and Australia. At the request of Australian authorities, they were taken on board a Norwegian freighter - the MV Tampa. These people were trying to reach Australia where they wished to claim asylum. They said they were refugees (mostly from Afghanistan), fleeing from their homeland. The freighter was only equipped to carry 50 people. Some of those rescued were sick. The captain of the freighter had insufficient food and medicine. Contrary to an instruction from Australia, the captaln brought his vessel into Australian territorial waters. He sought to land these people on Christmas Island, a tiny island which is a territory of Australia (but closer to Indonesia than the mainland of Australia).