SailNet Community banner

21 - 40 of 94 Posts

·
Old soul
Joined
·
4,504 Posts
So... I read the thread and then went back to the original news story. I was then surprised b/c I think the premise of the thread is not supported by the article.

Specifically, the official is quoted as saying this is “the first act of piracy on the high seas with migrants as alleged hijackers.” So, despite the many years of human misery and desperation that has washed its way across the Med, this is the only time such an event has happened.

If the news story is meant as a guide, then the thread title should have been "Do pick up illegal migrants in the Med!"

All mariners have a duty to provide assistance to fellow boaters if we can do safely. The assumption that illegal Med migrants might try and kill you is not supported by this story, or by the history of this tragedy.

That said, I don’t know what I’d do if I came across a raft of 120 people. I’d certainly be wary of them, but I think I would try and provide what assistance I could safely, recognizing my boat has limited capabilities, and can only hold maybe dozen people at the very most.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,392 Posts
Today, right now, my favorite color is red.
What should it be...my fave color?

Please take social judgement bait....and go troll other waters, or back to high school. Reborn teenies....with a voice

An exercise with no productive end
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
That said, I don’t know what I’d do if I came across a raft of 120 people. I’d certainly be wary of them, but I think I would try and provide what assistance I could safely, recognizing my boat has limited capabilities, and can only hold maybe dozen people at the very most.
A metaphor for the situation as a whole.

Your choices in such an encounter would be:
1) to render assistance and be swamped and/or hijacked, in which case you may end up swimming with the fishes yourself (as you said, your boat has limited capabilities, and you're taking up valuable space/food/water).

2) sail on, giving them a wide berth.

Essentially, those were the choices of the protagonist in the German movie discussed in another thread here, with some additional complications which arose from her indecision between choices #1 and #2.

You are saying that your choice would be #1, but from the clauses conditioning your assistance on the capabilities of your boat and the realities of Med crossings by migrants, I suspect your revealed preference would be #2.

Sure, if you came across a small dinghy with a handful of women and children, you'd render assistance. What if the migrant boat instead contained many dozens or even hundreds of young men, as most of them do?
Would you do pull up next to them to explain you can only take 12?

Also, you're assuming that the quoted official is correct and truthful about the history of such incidents. Given the obfuscation of this situation by European officials and the media, I wouldn't make that assumption.
 

·
Dirt Free
Joined
·
2,654 Posts
I am quite sure that regardless of the risks Sharon and I would not be capable of bypassing anyone in dire straits.
We Have involved ourselves in other circumstance at some cost to us but we sleep with clear concience.
 

·
Master Mariner
Joined
·
8,241 Posts
When I frequented the waters at the time of the boat people from Cuba & Haiti, other than giving them water and standing some distance off, the policy was to call the USCG and leave the situation to them. If you took them aboard your vessel, then you were responsible for their repatriation at your expense.
Kinda goes against all the traditional "laws" of the seas, but what are you supposed to do? Pay for their rehabilitation and medical costs, then fly them back to their home on your nickel?
Great fishing under their rafts, though.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MarkofSeaLife

·
Registered
Joined
·
158 Posts
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.
 

·
Master Mariner
Joined
·
8,241 Posts
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.
Whether I was operating a ship, sailing boat, tug or sportfishing boat, the most "compassionate" thing one could do for those boat people was give them water and call the USCG and stand by until they arrived.
In many cases, even food would not be appropriate, if unsupervised by a medical professional.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
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.
Your claim that the Med boat people are refugees is unsubstantiated. The term refugee has a legal definition, someone who's fleeing war, persecution, or violence in their home country. The vast majority of the Med boat migrants do not meet that definition. Most of them are not families fleeing war or persecution, but young males from Sub-Saharan countries not currently at war. They tend not to be particularly poor either, being able to come up with hefty fees to get on the smugglers' boats - a good, if risky, investment given the generous payoff if they make it to their destination. I trust you can look up the details yourself.

If this is wrong, it is a moral imperative to help them. Please do post videos when you sail to the Med on your private yacht and approach their boats to assist them in their migration.
 

·
Old soul
Joined
·
4,504 Posts
A metaphor for the situation as a whole.

Your choices in such an encounter would be:
1) to render assistance and be swamped and/or hijacked, in which case you may end up swimming with the fishes yourself (as you said, your boat has limited capabilities, and you're taking up valuable space/food/water).
This is an assumption unsupported by facts presented. I said the opposite.

The issue with recognizing my vessel’s limitations are simple facts. I can accommodate perhaps 12 people. The raft cited held 120. My full water supply would assist very little.

I stated I would still provide what assistance I could, without overtly endangering my crew or my vessel. I think this is the basic standard all mariners are expected to operate to.

Also, you're assuming that the quoted official is correct and truthful about the history of such incidents. Given the obfuscation of this situation by European officials and the media, I wouldn't make that assumption.
This is the only information I have. I have no information regarding the "obfuscation of this situation by European officials and the media.” If you do, then you are in a more informed position. But my brief research on the subject has so far confirmed there have been no other similar incidents.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
I stated I would still provide what assistance I could, without overtly endangering my crew or my vessel. I think this is the basic standard all mariners are expected to operate to.
OK. It's easy to talk abstractly about how you would provide what assistance you could and basic standards, but at sea things get rather more concrete. Since we are discussing realistic scenarios that could happen if you were cruising in certain parts of the Med, let's talk specifics. What assistance would you provide if you encountered a craft filled with a hundred or more migrants? And how would you provide it?

Would you come close enough to raft up or transfer a number of migrants to your boat, say, by dinghy, or by their jumping in the water and swimming to your boat?

You said you could take 12 (or whatever), but how would you select them? What if more than the number your boat could support tried to come aboard, as is likely to be the case? Would you take all of them on, try to persuade some of them not to board your boat, or just take off and leave them in the water? What if they were clinging to your boat while still in the water, but you could take no more? What if those that did come aboard insisted on your going back and picking up their friends and relatives? What if they REALLY insisted? "Look at me: I am the captain now."

If you were NOT planning to take any aboard for those reasons, but say, just give them some of your water or food, you'd have to be close enough to transfer water or food while controlling who came aboard your vessel. How would you persuade them not to come aboard if they nonetheless jumped or swam to your boat? How would you do that, without endangering your crew or your vessel? Would you remove your ladder and any lines they could grab? Most of the migrants attempting the journey are young agile men under the age of 36, and quite desperate. What would you do if the choice was between physically preventing them from coming onto your boat or endangering yourself, your crew, and your boat?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
7,167 Posts
Discussion Starter #31
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.


:2 boat:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,650 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
526 Posts
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.
 

·
Picnic Sailor
Joined
·
2,119 Posts
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.


:2 boat:
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
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.

:2 boat:
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
222 Posts

·
Old soul
Joined
·
4,504 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
526 Posts
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.
 
21 - 40 of 94 Posts
Top