Do not pick up illegal migrants in the Med! - Page 4 - SailNet Community
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Re: Do not pick up illegal migrants in the Med!

I don't think any of us can plan how we would react.

Each situation I have been it at sea is utterly unique.

We must all rely on our moral compass and the situation as we see it.

I have no doubt that all of us would do our best. None of us are types that would leave people to die... But I also think none of us are so naive enough to realise we could put ourselves in a serious situation.

My best advice to *me* is that I will do the right thing at the right time.


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Re: Do not pick up illegal migrants in the Med!

Reminds me of a situation where we were making passage between Block Island and the Eastern end of Long Island. It wasn't foggy, but visibility was poor, maybe a few miles. You could not see shore by a long shot, but could certainly see a distance. As we're sailing, we see an orange lump in the sea, too far away to be able to fully make it out. It could be a life jacket. For a few moments, getting further away, I'm asking myself if that could really have been what we saw. I say to my wife that we should turn around and go over to check. To my surprise, she become extremely anxious that we may find someone dead in a life jacket. I can't know she would have sailed on, if alone, but it did seem that intense. I can't imagine she would approach a vessel, with sick or injured or even dead crew, particularly if she might be outnumbered and overwhelmed. I'm sure she would call for help on the radio.

We turned around. On the entire 5 ish minute return trip, she was visibly anxious, even scared. As we approached, it turned out to be an orange mylar balloon. Whew.

BTW, I've never seen a plastic straw in the water. I see these freaking mylar balloons all the time. The trend toward banning straws reminds me of our never ending desire to prove to ourselves we're doing something and frequently accomplish little. If we don't suffer or feel the sacrifice, it must not be working. These balloons are what need to be banned. But, I digress from the topic.


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Re: Do not pick up illegal migrants in the Med!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rmaddy View Post
The question isn't so much what would you do if you came upon refugees dying on a raft at sea, but rather what would you do if you and your family lived in a place so terrible that the prospect of dying on a raft at sea was not a deterrent to giving it a shot. Refugees are not "illegal". They are refugees. A little compassion out there on your private yacht.
This is an important perspective to inform one's decision making. Also consider that at least one of the people on board may be a trafficker of people. That guy presents the greatest threat.

I ran across an interview on Youtube last night (cant' get to the link right now) of a middle aged couple who encountered a skiff with 11 people on board between Spain and Algeria. The skiff rammed the sailboat in an attempt to forcibly board with three. One was successfull and two fell overboard. The skiff's engine died preventing additional attempts. The one that successfully boarded was not hostile, but who knows how they would have been if all three had boarded, they could easily have imposed their will over the crew. Desparate people doing desparate things.

Rescue was coordinated and it had a happy ending. But it could easily have gone very differently. Compassion can be a dangerous thing.
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Re: Do not pick up illegal migrants in the Med!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
I don't think any of us can plan how we would react.

Each situation I have been it at sea is utterly unique.

We must all rely on our moral compass and the situation as we see it.

I have no doubt that all of us would do our best. None of us are types that would leave people to die... But I also think none of us are so naive enough to realise we could put ourselves in a serious situation.

My best advice to *me* is that I will do the right thing at the right time.


Well said.

This thread title grabbed my interest, as someone who is soon to fly to Malta and begin sailing the Med it's a slightly more than a theoretical question.

I won't add much else as I think you have pretty eloquently hit the nail on the head.

I am however reminded to be continually thankful that I was born in a spot in the world where I have no firsthand experience of war, famine, poverty or lawlessness.
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Re: Do not pick up illegal migrants in the Med!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
I don't think any of us can plan how we would react.

Each situation I have been it at sea is utterly unique.

We must all rely on our moral compass and the situation as we see it.

I have no doubt that all of us would do our best. None of us are types that would leave people to die... But I also think none of us are so naive enough to realise we could put ourselves in a serious situation.

My best advice to *me* is that I will do the right thing at the right time.

Fair enough. But just like with MOB situations, it helps to think through the options ahead of time because the situation gets "real" and emotional very quickly.

On a beautiful, calm night last summer in coastal Boston waters what seemed like a domestic quarrel (a bunch of drunk people arguing on a motor boat nearby) suddenly turned into an MOB situation. Once we realized a man from the other boat was just barely clinging to the underside of a loose tow ring (the kind that powerboats tow for fun) a few hundred yards away and was about to go under, and the motor boat was dead in the water (they were yelling at each other for running out of gas), it became very intense.
We did get to the MOB in time, who was nearly incoherent and losing his gross motor skills. We pulled him into our boat, which took two strong guys to do and caused him considerable pain as we dragged him up over the low stern of our boat. Even though the conditions were nearly perfect, help was but a mile or two away, and the MOB was a stranger, it was very stressful. In the rushed gybe to turn around and get him, I got hit by the boom really hard for the first time. Luckily, the boat I was on was small and the boom fairly light. If the boom on our boat had hit me, I would've been knocked out or dead.
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Re: Do not pick up illegal migrants in the Med!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Reminds me of a situation where we were making passage between Block Island and the Eastern end of Long Island. It wasn't foggy, but visibility was poor, maybe a few miles. You could not see shore by a long shot, but could certainly see a distance. As we're sailing, we see an orange lump in the sea, too far away to be able to fully make it out. It could be a life jacket. For a few moments, getting further away, I'm asking myself if that could really have been what we saw. I say to my wife that we should turn around and go over to check. To my surprise, she become extremely anxious that we may find someone dead in a life jacket. I can't know she would have sailed on, if alone, but it did seem that intense. I can't imagine she would approach a vessel, with sick or injured or even dead crew, particularly if she might be outnumbered and overwhelmed. I'm sure she would call for help on the radio.

We turned around. On the entire 5 ish minute return trip, she was visibly anxious, even scared. As we approached, it turned out to be an orange mylar balloon. Whew.
This reminds me of another situation I was in some years ago. We had taken a mooring at Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor and were having dinner when there was a commotion on a motor boat perhaps a 100 yards away. We couldn't quite see what was going on, but there seemed to be someone in the water. But the boat was under power, there were a lot of young people on it, and there were other motor boats actively moored closer to them. Then a number of police, rescue, and firefighter boats come screaming from all directions towards the boat. We hear a call on Ch.16 from the police or CG to look for what sounded like 'missing limb in the water'. We thought we'd misheard, but then a police boat approaches to ask us if we didn't see a missing arm in the water! We slipped our mooring and starting circling, looking for the missing arm in the water along with a bunch of other boats, a pleasant dinner on a beautiful night having turned into a gruesome search.

Yup, this was the infamous 'Naut guilty' (the boat's name) incident, where a 19 yo girl had jumped in the water to 'rescue' a lost cushion, and the boat backed over her, the prop severing her arm, never to be found. The boat was owned by a DUI lawyer who also was a part-owner of a liquor store in Charlestown. Everyone of 15 or so people onboard this small boat were very drunk, many underage. The authorities tried to shut the liquor store down after that incident, I think unsuccessfully. Then a friend happened to sit in the seat next to a girl on a flight out of Boston some years later. She was missing an arm, and he couldn't resist asking if it was her, which it was. You can't make this stuff up.
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Re: Do not pick up illegal migrants in the Med!

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Originally Posted by PhilCarlson View Post
<snip>

I ran across an interview on Youtube last night (cant' get to the link right now) of a middle aged couple who encountered a skiff with 11 people on board between Spain and Algeria. <snip>
Here's an interview with that couple
https://youtu.be/tyvcxmAescU

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Re: Do not pick up illegal migrants in the Med!

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Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
I don't think any of us can plan how we would react.

Each situation I have been it at sea is utterly unique.

We must all rely on our moral compass and the situation as we see it.

I have no doubt that all of us would do our best. None of us are types that would leave people to die... But I also think none of us are so naive enough to realise we could put ourselves in a serious situation.

My best advice to *me* is that I will do the right thing at the right time.
Well said Mark. Ditto.

But as a starting point, my advice is not to operate out of fear. Since we are being specific, the article DOES NOT support the supposition that these people are a menace. It says this is the first event in all the years it has been going on.

As I clearly stated, a seaman’s obligation is to render assistance with out unduly risking their own crew or vessel. In this case, a small sailboat can provide limited assistance to a raft of 120 people. Water, perhaps refuge for the most vulnerable. Who knows. I do know it would be hard for me to simply sail past and attempt to do nothing, but desperate people can be dangerous people. I would not overtly risk my crew or my vessel.
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Last edited by MikeOReilly; 03-29-2019 at 02:08 PM.
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Re: Do not pick up illegal migrants in the Med!

If the water taxi captains who rescued Sulli and his passengers in the Hudson instead held off, saying "Desperate people can be dangerous people"--what would you think of them?

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Re: Do not pick up illegal migrants in the Med!

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Originally Posted by Rmaddy View Post
If the water taxi captains who rescued Sulli and his passengers in the Hudson instead held off, saying "Desperate people can be dangerous people"--what would you think of them?
If any of them had placed their boats or crew at undue risk in the rescue effort, I would question their competence.
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