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Old 20-08-2015, 13:32   #16
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Re: So your cruising and come across illegal immigrants/ refuges in distress, what do

Thanks for raising this very interesting topic. My hubby and I discussed this topic the other day as it has been relevant of the Australian coastline in recent years. Depending on the circumstances and number of people, no particular solution I am afraid, but would like to hope we could provide as much assistance where possible, particularly for the kiddies. Thanks for all your suggestions.
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Old 20-08-2015, 14:02   #17
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Re: So your cruising and come across illegal immigrants/ refuges in distress, what do

Personally I would do whatever I could to help, but i would be very leery of allowing a large number of people desperate enough to try immigrating this way on board, or even maneuvering close enough to directly pass anything. Food, water, medical supplies, ext. I would be willing to pass via powered dinghy or floating them on a kayak or something. But I wouldn't allow them close enough to possibly command my vessel.

Of course call the authorities, possibly take on a sick passenger or children... It would be very situationally dependent. But I think it is critical not to place yourself in danger as well. By definition these are desperate people who are willing to risk their lives to escape wherever they are coming from. getting caught in that yourself isn't going to work out well.
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Old 20-08-2015, 14:04   #18
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Re: So your cruising and come across illegal immigrants/ refuges in distress, what do

Well, you are required to report them if you consider they are, or may be, in emergency or a threat to navigation.

If they are in the water, you have to help out as many as you can. You will likely deploy your liferaft, lower the dinghy and chuck all your lifejackets to them. Etc. Sure thing you will have to lift people from the water unless you are sure a bigger and more adequate ship is coming immediately.

If they are doing fine and you judge them not in danger nor a threat to navigation well then anybody is free to roam international waters in the way they find fit ...

Etc. I think.

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Old 20-08-2015, 14:09   #19
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Re: So your cruising and come across illegal immigrants/ refuges in distress, what do

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Well, you are required to report them if you consider they are, or may be, in emergency or a threat to navigation.

If they are in the water, you have to help out as many as you can. You will likely deploy your liferaft, lower the dinghy and chuck all your lifejackets to them. Etc. Sure thing you will have to lift people from the water unless you are sure a bigger and more adequate ship is coming immediately.

If they are doing fine and you judge them not in danger nor a threat to navigation well then anybody is free to roam international waters in the way they find fit ...

Etc. I think.

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It isn't quite that simple. You are required under maritime law to render aid. BUT you do not have to render any aid that places your vessel or crew at risk. Passing over your life raft in my eyes places your crew at risk, and so while you may do it, it isn't required. Dinghy is a different issue, more likely you should. But again providing them a means to commander your vessel places you at risk and i wouldn't. Passing over extra life jackets fine, passing over all yours no.

Generally resorting to the law in this situation is a bit muddled since the law doesn't match well the reality. Rendering aid to a sole person is very different that rendering aid to a bot with 50 people on board. Or even 50 people in the water after their boat sinks.
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Old 20-08-2015, 14:26   #20
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Re: So your cruising and come across illegal immigrants/ refuges in distress, what do

You have to live with yourself at the end of the day. I think it's a great issue for discussion because the realities are so far apart from one's desire to assist.

We know they are desperate. If we know ourselves, we know if we were desperate we'd do ANYthing we could. They have to be the same, at least mostly.

They might be too beat down to try and commandeer your boat; but dare you take that risk? As Stumble points out, you are actually required to not jeopardize the welfare of your own ship and crew, but also required to render aid to those in distress in the water.

So the question, for me, morphs into what CAN you do safely? Remember, the refugees you encounter may not speak a language that you do, and have very different cultural values, as well. The answer to what you can do safely will depend more on the resources of your ship and crew. It's always good to have a plan.

Part of the plan is to document what you do, both by recording the incident in the ship's log: lat/lon, time, observations, actions (such as time of initial "Mayday" and identity of authorities informed), etc., and possibly with photographs and/or video.

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Old 20-08-2015, 14:41   #21
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Re: So your cruising and come across illegal immigrants/ refuges in distress, what do

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You have to live with yourself at the end of the day. I think it's a great issue for discussion because the realities are so far apart from one's desire to assist.

We know they are desperate. If we know ourselves, we know if we were desperate we'd do ANYthing we could. They have to be the same, at least mostly.

They might be too beat down to try and commandeer your boat; but dare you take that risk? As Stumble points out, you are actually required to not jeopardize the welfare of your own ship and crew, but also required to render aid to those in distress in the water.

So the question, for me, morphs into what CAN you do safely? Remember, the refugees you encounter may not speak a language that you do, and have very different cultural values, as well. The answer to what you can do safely will depend more on the resources of your ship and crew. It's always good to have a plan.

Ann

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Depending on how many people are in the water and how far out to sea they are....My thoughts while calling for rescue.

Lower the dink filled with supplies and flotation ( sans motor and oars) on a LONG line. Just circle out of range so to speak, as if picking up a waterskier and then drop the line once dink gets to survivors.

Maybe even consider dropping off the life raft if need be.

If survivors fit in the dink and not too far from shore, why not give them a tow?

Personally, I would have a hard time watching people die without being proactive in any rescue.
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Old 20-08-2015, 14:46   #22
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Re: So your cruising and come across illegal immigrants/ refuges in distress, what do

Say you come upon four Cubans floating around near the Bahamas/Florida. They are in poor shape so you take them aboard. You are on your way to Florida. What will happen when you get there? You have notified the USCG that you have picked these folks up.
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Old 20-08-2015, 14:46   #23
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Re: So your cruising and come across illegal immigrants/ refuges in distress, what do

This problem has spread to vast areas of the world and in such massive numbers it is almost overwhelming to think about it. Coming across the numbers of people jammed into the boat in the picture would be heartbreaking but there is very little you can do in a small boat except to alert the authorities and stand by. Trying to do anything else could put you and them in danger. If you tried to render assistance and they surged to one side of the boat it would capsize. To try to bring them on board your boat would put you and your crew in jeopardy.
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Old 20-08-2015, 15:23   #24
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Re: So your cruising and come across illegal immigrants/ refuges in distress, what do

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Say you come upon four Cubans floating around near the Bahamas/Florida. They are in poor shape so you take them aboard. You are on your way to Florida. What will happen when you get there? You have notified the USCG that you have picked these folks up.
So far as I know the US 'wet feet, dry feet' policy is still in effect. So for Cubans particularly there is a huge incentive to prevent you from contacting US authorities. The moment they hit dry land they can petition for immigrant status, but if they are picked up at sea they get returned.
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Old 20-08-2015, 15:37   #25
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Re: So your cruising and come across illegal immigrants/ refuges in distress, what do

Sorry guys, wet foot dry foot only applies to Cubans. If your Haitian it's if your black you go back. What is right doesn't always apply.
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Old 20-08-2015, 15:45   #26
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Re: So your cruising and come across illegal immigrants/ refuges in distress, what do

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About 25 years ago, while running a 65'research vessel, I came across a group of 100+ Haitians in a 40' - 45' sailboat about 25 miles off West Palm Beach, in the Gulf Stream. Becalmed, at sea for many days, they were pretty hungry and thirsty. We passed them water, bread, and whatever leftovers we had on board. I passed them a line, and we towed them to the Customs dock in Lake Worth. We were a bit taken aback by the crew that emerged from their offices to process them, looking like they were going into a nuclear disaster zone - head to toe hazmat suits, breathing masks & the full regalia. I believe we were in the "wet foot, dry foot" policy then, but I don't know if landing at the customs dock counted as dry foot or not.

So as I was reading this thread, I was thinking that the point of communicable diseases needs to be brought up - these folks in the suits were following a VERY appropriate protocol - there is some very scary stuff out there that spreads like wildfire, and mother nature is always working on something even worse. I think the best you can do is stand off and radio for help. Unless you happen to have some of these suits, you might end up stuck in a very legitimate quarantine at best, and quite possibly very sick and dying yourselves at worst, even if the refugees were not bent on pirating your vessel to survive.
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Old 20-08-2015, 16:26   #27
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Re: So your cruising and come across illegal immigrants/ refuges in distress, what do

It's obvious to me, I'd give Donald Trump a call and I'm pretty sure there would be an armed helicopter on its way to decide which ones were good and worth saving and which ones just needed to be dealt with. Just joking.
But seriously, you have to do what you can to help them as they are humans right? It may be risky but I don't think I could stand watching people die because of my lack of actions and not wanting to take a chance.
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Old 20-08-2015, 16:34   #28
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Re: So your cruising and come across illegal immigrants/ refuges in distress, what do

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Sorry guys, wet foot dry foot only applies to Cubans. If your Haitian it's if your black you go back. What is right doesn't always apply.
Footloose,

The real question is not how many Cubans or Haitians enter the US legally or illegally, but rather does the US, with a population of 300 million plus and a recession economy, need immigration at all? In regards to the OP's original question, I don't think there is an easy answer and it would be situationally dependant but I agree with Ann Cate that "You have to live with yourself at the end of the day." Good luck and good sailing. R
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Old 20-08-2015, 16:57   #29
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Re: So your cruising and come across illegal immigrants/ refuges in distress, what do

P.S,
For those who read quality literature, this is the theme--the rescue,or lack thereof, of human beings on the SS Patna-- in Joseph Conrad's classic novel "Lord Jim"--- A world classic by one of the greatest writers of the English language.
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Old 20-08-2015, 17:03   #30
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Re: So your cruising and come across illegal immigrants/ refuges in distress, what do

UNCLOS? Which version? Not all of the signatories ratified it, and here in the US, it hasn't been signed and isn't law.


So, UNCLOS. Irrelevant for us Colonials. Doesn't exist here.


Is it politically incorrect to count how many vacancies you have on board, and then run a Dutch Auction to sell those spots to some lucky few members of the party boat?


Oh wait, that's the "how to make money while cruising" thread, isn't it?
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