The original story that stared this thread reminds me of an incident I read about a year or so ago on this forum, as I recall
In that incident, a sailor found himself grounded off the coast of a Cental American country (Honduras IIRC).
He got assistance from locals who took him out to his boat, but then the locals proceeded to strip his boat (and kept the items for themselves) while he watched, and he could not stop them. As I recall
, he was frustrated by seeing this, but powerless to stop it.
Perhaps someone will recall that thread and provide a link to the original story.