Tmpa Case Study

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B. THE CASE OF MV TAMPA
The MV Tampa was a Norwegian merchant ship which was prevented by the Australian Government from entering into its territory. The Tampa rescued about 433 people in August 2001; many of them were of Afghan origin. These persons had been trying to reach Australia in a wooden fishing boat but the boat started sinking about 140 kilometers off the coast of Christmas Island. Some of the people aboard the ship required urgent medical attention so the Tampa decided to proceed to the nearest port, which was Christmas Island and is a part of Australian territory. Tampa paused at the border of Australia’s territorial sea and requested permission to enter and unload the refugees but the Australian government denied them permission. Keeping in mind the health conditions of the passengers aboard the vessel, the captain of Tampa made the decision to overlook the denial and entered Australian territorial waters in search of assistance. The Australian government sent a small special operation force of the Army to board the ship and take control and also to provide assistance to the wounded. However, the passengers were prevented from disembarking.
The Tampa refused to leave the territorial waters because of the dangerous situation of the vessel as it currently had excess of 450 passengers and was built to safely hold no more than 50. On 1st
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However, it seems to be a violation of the principle of non-refoulement. Australia redirected the vessel and refused to carry out a preliminary screening of the persons on board the Tampa, which constitutes a refoulement. The passengers had intended to enter Australia and in so being the first country of arrival, it fell upon it give temporary refuge and preliminary screening. Later on, it could have transferred the refugees to a third state for further processing and to send back those who were not deemed

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