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Yeah, I don’t really understand what this seaman is on about.
What is so difficult to understand? You see a boat that's clearly not a leisure craft or engaged in some legitimate maritime business. How do you know from a distance whether these are migrants, pirates, migrants who could turn into pirates if the circumstances are right, or someone just pushing some service you may or may not want? You don't until you come closer. In certain regions of the Caribbean it's not uncommon to see large skiffs come at you and you have no idea what they want.
Maybe you can tell from a mile away who is on the boat and what they want, but I can't.
 

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What is so difficult to understand? You see a boat that's clearly not a leisure craft or engaged in some legitimate maritime business. How do you know from a distance whether these are migrants, pirates, migrants who could turn into pirates if the circumstances are right, or someone just pushing some service you may or may not want? You don't until you come closer. In certain regions of the Caribbean it's not uncommon to see large skiffs come at you and you have no idea what they want.
Maybe you can tell from a mile away who is on the boat and what they want, but I can't.
But the thread wasnt about the Black Pearl, Captain Jack Sparrow or the Pirates of the Carribean. It was a big slow cumbersome sinking raft with over 100 men, women and children on board. Totally different things.
 

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Re: Do not pick up illegal migrants!

You could throw them a few bottles of water and notify the U.S. Coast Guard . . . and if you have plenty of floatation devices, you might be able to throw those to them, to help save their lives, but I wonder if that would make you an accomplice, like a coyote, for assisting them to cross the border illegally.
Seeking asylum is not illegal, and refugees have rights defined by the United Nations. Status-wise, they have the same right to sail/row/motor into Malta or elsewhere that you do. Once there, they, like you, must present themselves to the local authorities and state their purpose in arriving. On the water, there is no legal distinction between them and you whatsoever. There is a factual distinction, i.e. that they are overloaded and in trouble, and you are not. It is on that basis that I would hope you made your decisions.
 

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But the thread wasnt about the Black Pearl, Captain Jack Sparrow or the Pirates of the Carribean. It was a big slow cumbersome sinking raft with over 100 men, women and children on board. Totally different things.
Exactly right. I don’t understand what seaman is on about. (S)he seems to want to have a different discussion. Or perhaps a broader discussion about how one deals with ’the other.’

In this case the article says this is the first example of piracy in all the years of this prolonged human disaster. And the other link presents evidence that even this conclusion is doubtful. So obviously the evidence suggests these people are not a danger to any would-be rescuer.

As I said, desperate people can do desperate things. I would be cautious. As I also said, I think I would render what assistance I could without overtly endangering my crew or vessel. This is consistent with our obligations as mariners, but also as fellow human beings.

Given the limitation of a smallish sailboat trying to assist a raft with 120 people on it, the assistance I could provide would likely be quite limited. Perhaps I could provide water, and maybe refuge to a few of the more vulnerable. Obviously I could assist with communications if that was needed. Not sure what else a smallish sailboat could do.
 

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Exactly right. I don’t understand what seaman is on about. (S)he seems to want to have a different discussion. Or perhaps a broader discussion about how one deals with ’the other.’

In this case the article says this is the first example of piracy in all the years of this prolonged human disaster. And the other link presents evidence that even this conclusion is doubtful. So obviously the evidence suggests these people are not a danger to any would-be rescuer.

As I said, desperate people can do desperate things. I would be cautious. As I also said, I think I would render what assistance I could without overtly endangering my crew or vessel. This is consistent with our obligations as mariners, but also as fellow human beings.

Given the limitation of a smallish sailboat trying to assist a raft with 120 people on it, the assistance I could provide would likely be quite limited. Perhaps I could provide water, and maybe refuge to a few of the more vulnerable. Obviously I could assist with communications if that was needed. Not sure what else a smallish sailboat could do.
I had two rather simple points in this discussion:
1) you can't know who are dealing with at sea until you come into fairly close contact, which can endanger you;
2) folks who sail in areas where they're unlikely to ever encounter migrants seem most enthusiastic about rendering assistance to them.

My latent point is, in case it's still not clear, I'm not very impressed by folks intent on moral posturing while actually doing nothing.
 

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I had two rather simple points in this discussion:
1) you can't know who are dealing with at sea until you come into fairly close contact, which can endanger you;
2) folks who sail in areas where they're unlikely to ever encounter migrants seem most enthusiastic about rendering assistance to them.

My latent point is, in case it's still not clear, I'm not very impressed by folks intent on moral posturing while actually doing nothing.
First off, no one really cares what impresses you. That’s not what we’re discussing (in case it’s still not clear to you). As for your “moral posturing” accusation ... you mean by expressing basic human compassion, and/or by quoting standard Admiralty law?

On your #1 point; of course you can’t know what you are dealing with until getting rather close. Duh…

Your #2 is pure opinion. I think everyone has said basically the same thing; that they would be cautious in rendering what aid was possible without endangering their own crew or vessel. It’s only you who seems to be saying something different.
 

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Well put Mike.
no one really cares what impresses you
In fact if he agreed with anything I thought I'd be concerned.

> expressing basic human compassion

amazing how far from Christ's teachings many self-professed "Christians" stray.

Yes, be cautious, but do your best to help.

In constant overblown fear, is no way to live.
 

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My latent point is, in case it's still not clear, I'm not very impressed by folks intent on moral posturing while actually doing nothing.
The risk in having a moral conscience is that, in the heat of a critical moment, one might not live up to the expressed ideal. I think we all get this. Still, when my raft is foundering in blue waters, I would much rather deal with someone who at least aspired to compassion, empathy, and so on.
 

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On multiple levels think calling for local authorities is usually the right call. Think this true both both your and their safety.
We were once the standby vessel in the rescue of a distressed commercial fish boat. Called it in to the CG. Asked to report our position and relay communications if necessary but unless there were people in the water hold station and not raft nor attempt transfer of people. This was over 20 years ago so don’t know if general recommendations have changed.
Injuries, drownings and death can occur in transfers. The authorities are likely to be much more skilled and equipped to do this activity safely.
Issues of violence or potential violence are better handled by them as well.
Issues of new or further damage to either vessel are circumvented.

There are multiple exceptions.
Calling for rescue to a totalitarian state. Think rescuing Israeli yachtmen off coast of Iran maybe justified.
Calling for rescue once outside the 200m limit with other vessel sinking or on fire. Response time would be too long so immediate action required. Same true in other pressing emergencies such as medical (with proviso you could supply skills), disabled crew, damaged vessel etc.

Of course judgment is required. I’m not likely to rescue Somali or Venezuelan pirates except in very limited circumstances. But the law of the sea and hundreds of years of tradition require you put aside any sentiments and give aid to a distressed vessel. I find it reassuring that a cruise ship or freighter or container ship will do this for me so I feel an obligation to do it for others.
 

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It's pretty clear that the EU is outsourcing "rescue" to a newly-equipped-and-budgeted Libyan CG ... which is not interested in saving migrants.

That said, unless your destination is Libya, you probably won't have any problems from the migrants you pick up...

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019...a-refugee-ship-hijacking-190330172346952.html

Winter is ending here, the problem is only going to get worse this summer. I don't have any concrete plans to be that far west, but it's a real issue. Probably not where most cruisers will be, Lampedusa is slightly more than halfway across between Sicily and Libya. Stay North and you won't see any action.
 

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I often sail in Greece, so this is an issue I have extensively discussed with fellow boat owners. Hasn't ever happened to me, but to be honest I see it as my duty to save people in danger.
 

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I often sail in Greece, so this is an issue I have extensively discussed with fellow boat owners. Hasn't ever happened to me, but to be honest I see it as my duty to save people in danger.
Saving people in danger is a pretty broad statement, given your extensive discussion. That could be a little as a radio call, or do you raft your small sailboat up to a vessel with 100 adult men waving their arms at you. Curious what you discussed.

In this scenario, I stay at a distance and make a radio call, I'm sure. None of us really know, until faced with the circumstance. Ironically, I may be calling exactly who they are trying to escape. Not speaking their language will make that impossible to determine.
 

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so if you can't get anyone on the radio and/or people are drowning what are you going to do?
 

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so if you can't get anyone on the radio and/or people are drowning what are you going to do?
Time to upgrade your electronics, my 21 ft boat has two means of satellite communication, together they cost me less than a $1k.
 

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The post from the eastern med is of interest and I believe reflects most cruisers thinking. We think of cruising as idyllic but this is always tempered by reality.
In my provincial view have friends who like the ABCs for diving. Now approach from seaward at 90 degrees from the mainland coast. Longer but safer. Similarly several friends summer in Trinidad. They stay as far away from the mainland coast as possible.
There are some problems you just can’t fix. You need to stay safe. Be it crossing the Indian Ocean or just messing around in the Caribbean.
Axel seems to be a good sort. He’ll do the “right” thing but wisely will try to avoid putting himself potentially in harms way.
 

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It goes without saying that it’s a judgement call. I said ‘in danger’- it’s up to you to discern whether people risk to lose their lives if you don’t help them immediately, and yes, in many cases that may include more than a radio call. See here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...uty-towards-people-struggling-for-their-lives
I guess you know that every year thousands of people get drowned in the Med, including women and children. I have friends in Lesvos and Chios (Greek islands) where these questions are not theoretical. I have discussed with them about their experiences, as some of them have actually helped refugees - the vast majority of them don’t know how to swim.
No, I don’t claim that I could save everyone with my small sailboat. Obviously, if we were talking about hundreds of people I would prioritise women and children, as well as sick people. In my case, it’s people trying to reach Europe from Turkey (Syrians, Afghans, Pakistanis) with the tacit consent of the Turkish authorities, so no, I wouldn’t be calling those who are trying to escape.
Perhaps if I was sailing in other parts of the world I would be a bit more wary.
Just for the record, I didn’t post here to preach to other people what they should do. As a Christian, I think it’s my duty to help people in distress, and even more so because of my own ancestors (on the Greek side) were immigrants fleeing Turkey and were eventually saved by Greek boatsmen. As you said, we don’t know until faced with the circumstance, but I would like to think that I would behave as humanely as possible. Other people may think differently, and I respect that.
 

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Another very interesting rescue thought. Triage makes sense. Helping the sick or injured first. Then young children, who are less capable of helping themselves.

However, in today’s day and age, are we past the women before men thing? Doesn’t seem modern equal rights perspective would endorse this long standing social advantage. Or would they.
 
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