More breaking news today on Laura Dekker, the 14-year old Dutch girl who has big plans to sail solo around the world. This past weekend, the teenager made headlines when she disappeared from Holland and turned up in St. Maarten, an island that falls in the Dutch Antilles of the Caribbean. A local there spotted her and alerted authorities, and upon being taken into custody, she was promptly sent back home.
Today, comes word that a judge has ruled on these recent activities, and has determined that Laura will remain in the custody of her father, despite youth services requesting that she be sent to live with family friends. Furthermore, the court has also set down some very specific conditions, saying that if she abides by them, she may be able to set sail in as little as three months time.
According to the article, Laura must now take a first aid course to learn how to deal with potentially life threatening injuries, and she’ll be required to make several long distance sailing trips to other countries to demonstrate her abilities at sea. The judge says that Laura should view these challenges as opportunities to prove that she is fit and ready for the round-the-world journey that would require months at sea.
It was also revealed that young girl traveled to St. Maarten on her New Zealand passport (she holds dual citizenship), and then when she arrived, there, she was looking to buy a boat, obviously to set sail on her journey.
Well, the kid got what she wanted. She’s now been given a set of criteria to fulfill that will most likely allow her to begin her circumnavigation attempt. The judge could have been much harsher on her, and she’s very lucky that she’s not being shipped off to foster care. I know her father is very much behind her attempt to sail the world, and that her mother is more cautious. But I can’t help but wonder where mom is and why she hasn’t asked to take custody of the girl.
Either way, I guess we’ll have to wait a few months to see if she gets to go. Then we’ll wait some more, and hope that all goes well.
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