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Old 04-10-2014, 17:59   #61
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Re: Skipper's Duty Towards Refugees

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Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
These conversations and suppositions are nice....but....IMHO you never really know wha you are going to do until faced with the situation.

It may be good to think it through ahead of time if you think you have a reasonable chance of encountering the situation yourself. Otherwise I don't know how much value there is to this effort.

For anybody cruising the Greek, Maltese, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese waters it is now very likely occurence, and probability is raising every day.

But I am in full agreement with the first sentence of Your post.
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Old 04-10-2014, 17:59   #62
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my playmates in Africa were all ex mercenaries
That's nothing... I got rejected by Oxfam for a Biafra Ad coz I was to thin...
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Old 04-10-2014, 18:09   #63
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Re: Skipper's Duty Towards Refugees

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That's nothing... I got rejected by Oxfam for a Biafra Ad coz I was to thin...
you were lucky ..I got to sort body parts in Uganda after idi amin left....the ultimate jigsaw puzzle......
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Old 04-10-2014, 18:34   #64
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Re: Skipper's Duty Towards Refugees

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I may have been hasty in my reply. I'm certain that in such a situation i would do what I could to take on survivors up to the point I judged my boat safe.
You may gently scream "thats enough now. The rest of you go swim off to your death". But they may not acquiesce.


Its a very vexed problem and our judgement can never be with full facts, and likely to be at night or in adverse conditions, too.

If it happens to us I hope we make the right decisions.
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Old 04-10-2014, 18:55   #65
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Re: Skipper's Duty Towards Refugees

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Atoll's thoughts closely reflect mine. Having said that, I've been a Good Samaritan by happenstance numerous times on land, so when faced with the situation, I'm not sure what I would do. A drowning person will take you down with them if you are not careful. A sinking boat of way too many people might do the same to you and your vessel. And to add to the situation, we have Ebola coming out of Africa in more and more cases. Now that I think about it, I might have called the CG and let them deal with a potentially deadly, for all concerned, situation.
When I took my life guard training, it was pounded in our head that no matter what, it was better one drown than two. The rescuer is always at risk and we were taught various ways to mitigate that, which as a final result, may end in the death of the victim.

It was tough to visualize that, and fortunately I never had to make that decision, but our training was such that it could be that a fatal decision had to be made. I would have had nightmares if I was the one who had to let someone drown to not endanger myself to the point where I would become a victim also.
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Old 04-10-2014, 19:11   #66
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Re: Skipper's Duty Towards Refugees

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Guys, are you really saying that there are people in the water around you and they will drown if you do nothing and you don't want to put yourself at any risk?
No. And neither did the original poster. There was nothing in the first post about people in the water, let alone people drowning.
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Old 05-10-2014, 12:27   #67
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Re: Skipper's Duty Towards Refugees

I have faced a similar situation- I came upon 7 people in the middle of a cold, high altitude lake that were all treading water, and we were in a small 4 person fishing boat with two people already in it. We threw out life jackets (they had none), had 4 people hold the edge of the boat while we ferried them to closest land, then came back for the rest. They insisted the weakest go first- one was only able to come up for air and then bob back down when we arrived. He came aboard. The rest waited their turn.
I am with the Aussie with this one. I could not leave a person treading water, even risking my own well being. I have pulled a few out, and rarely gotten thanks or even acknowledgement, but it could just as easily been me after a flying jybe...
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Old 05-10-2014, 12:56   #68
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Re: Skipper's Duty Towards Refugees

The OP assumed that the boat had a (VHF?) radio. If that was the case, why not hail them and find out if they wanted assistance? Perhaps offer to stay in the area and maintain radio contact if they declined immediate assistance.

Perhaps 50 persons on the boat would have been overloaded, but if a passing sailboat picked up half of them, perhaps the boat could continue on safely.

If the OP was concerned that a call the local coast guard would be intercepted, perhaps use of HF (SSB) communications would reduce the risk? Or sat-phone?

As I understand it (and I could be mistaken), they are not illegal (safety regulations aside) until they attempt to make landfall and have passengers go ashore without clearing immigration.

We are all human. I could not, in good conscience, leave dozens of people to die on a foundering boat without doing everything in my power to rescue them.

While 50 passengers is well beyond good judgement, the additional <5 tons in weight, if properly distributed, would be unlikely to make our boat unsafe.
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Old 05-10-2014, 13:50   #69
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Re: Skipper's Duty Towards Refugees

Let me start with my politics are right wing.

Shame on ANY American who looks down on any immigrant! Aside from the Native Ameicans/First People (what is thier current PC title?), we are all immigrants!

Me? I would measure up where they are and sea conditions and make a decision. The rest is between me and St. Pete. If my radio went on the fritz and couldn't transmit... Stuff happens. If the boat wasn't trimmed and I dumped some bottles of water to right the listing... Ya gotta trim the boat. If I thought they were going to die, mayday, pop the EPIRB and take them onboard.
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Old 05-10-2014, 13:59   #70
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Re: Skipper's Duty Towards Refugees

I've run into these types of the coast of the canaries.

My advice , if they outnumber you have nothing to do with these refugee boats, make sure you are over the horizon before porting it.

Desperate people do desperate things

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Old 05-10-2014, 14:12   #71
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Re: Skipper's Duty Towards Refugees

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I've run into these types of the coast of the canaries.

My advice , if they outnumber you have nothing to do with these refugee boats, make sure you are over the horizon before porting it.

Desperate people do desperate things

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Old 05-10-2014, 17:36   #72
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Re: Skipper's Duty Towards Refugees

Lass-
"Atoll, drowning people are not rioting." Any formal water rescue training will tell you that folks who think they are drowning, will be in a panic most of the time. If you go into the water to save them, they may actually try to climb on top of your shoulders and drown you. So, you are also taught how to break holds and push them OFF you. Drowning people are not necessarily rioting, but put 25 people in fear of drowning, and you can guarantee a number of them will be panicking and that's a real threat to rescuers.


As to transferring people off the overloaded boat? Really, even if they were all perfect gentlemen and ladies, there's no way one small craft can come alongside another small craft that is "taking water over the bow" in any kind of sea state, without both boats simply getting smashed up and grinding up the pieces of the crews in between them.
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Old 05-10-2014, 18:35   #73
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Re: Skipper's Duty Towards Refugees

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Aside from the Native Ameicans/First People (what is thier current PC title?), we are all immigrants!
Depends who you ask.

"Native American" usually means an educated, urban Indian who lives in a major city. On the res, it's a class word, and Native Americans have money, while "inniuns" (pronounced just like it's spelled, including the small case "i") or "'skins" is common, but both words can start a fight coming from a non-tribal member. In fact, it's better not to use either word unless you're certain about who you're talking to and how it's going to be received. The main difference is that a 'skin was born, raised and still lives on the res, and can be, therefore, a fairly major point of pride between 'skins.

The "correct, polite" term, used in the presence of white folk from off the res, is "tribal member".

Speaking as a tribal member, yes, in the U.S., you're all illegal immigrants, or the descendants of illegal immigrants, and from that perspective, perhaps you should study Spanish and learn to get along with the current wave of immigrants.

As Sherman Alexi put it, "here we go again. This should be good."
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Old 05-10-2014, 18:46   #74
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Re: Skipper's Duty Towards Refugees

Aside from the possibilities of disease, there may also be what someone else alluded to above, our Western liberal attitudes may seem absolutely distasteful to those with other beliefs. That disgust can make it impossible for some of them to accept, let alone respect, us as human beings. We Westerners may be viewed as just as worthy of respect or consideration as a food animal is to them. Personally, this is a very hard concept for me to get my head around. My point here is that the "guys" here who are saying "be very careful" may have a lot of right in this situation, more than I am intellectually comfortable with.

This does not mean that we could not take on board some people in the water. But that was not the situation described. That was a full gale, and the sighting of a boat with some people getting wet on it. The number "50" probably means, "too many," in this case, a judgment made by carsten's acquaintance. At no time was assistance requested as far as we know.

From Norna Biron's experience, we do know that at least one of the people smugglers did bring the boat to a sheltered area to discharge the passengers, and close enough for some of them to struggle ashore unassisted, IIRC.

So, I don't find it horrifying that carsten's acquaintance sailed on by. The skippers primary duty is to the safety of his vessel and crew. If that guy believed that the people in whose lives he might have intervened unasked would likely have overwhelmed him and absconded with his boat, then he did absolutely the right thing.

No assistance was requested. Why take any action at all? Nobody waving you over. Plus, the sea state would make any rescue attempts quite dangerous, especially for the smaller boats in the fleet.

So, yes, I think this new twist deserves some careful thought, and as weavis mentioned earlier, the decision would be made and not discussed on a forum.

Ann

on edit:

There's yet another issue here, which I failed to address: the issue of the illegality of people smuggling vs. the rights of real refugees to humanitarian aid. One could make a political argument: that if you want to support the Western government where you are cruising, you really ought to inform "the authorities" when you see a crime being committed. It is one of the bases of our way of life. None of our Western nations wants to be "overrun" by immigrants, and yet, that can amount to xenophobia and failures of humanitarian aid. This all makes me think of the Chinese curse: "may you live in interesting times!"
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Old 05-10-2014, 19:04   #75
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Re: Skipper's Duty Towards Refugees

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How is this seamanship and not politics?

Mark, I agree with you as to "obligation" and as it was said a couple thousand years ago:
"Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world. "
[Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9; Babylonian Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin 37a.]
There is one wealthy family that made the papers last month, I forget the name, but they've put a large motoryacht into use looking for refugees in need of aid in the Med.
If we stop and assist "refugees" every time it won't be long until these smugglers look out for a yacht and then unceremoniously just throw people overboard, knowing you are going to stop and pluck them out.

If they are within eye shot of shore you are doing them no good by calling authorities. They will just be rounded up and sent back home, and as one poster pointed out that place can be FAR from home. If they are FAR offshore in gale weather and the boat is obviously in trouble then I can see calling authorities.

Also, our sensibilities as to what is considered "overloaded" does not really apply to vessels in developing nations. As long as the boat is floating, the engine is running, all is "OK" to them.
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