All day long yesterday, every hour or so, we heard a Pan Pan message being broadcast over the VHF by the nearby Martinique MRCC (Marine Rescue Coordination Center). The message centered on a 12m vessel which was reported adrift some 20 miles offshore of Marie-Galante, a large island NNE of here.
I found the message curious because unless it was spotted by an aircraft, in order for someone to give an accurate GPS fix on the vessel, they would have had to have been fairly close to it, especially to make a judgement of whether it was manned or not. If it was unmanned, I suppose it could have broken free of a mooring or dragged anchor. A much worse possibility could be that someone single handing the boat fell overboard. Of course, there is always the very real possibility that there was still someone on board and that he/she is ill or injured and perhaps just not visible. The truth of this could only be determined if someone boarded the vessel and my thought was that if you were going to board it and found it unmanned, why not put it under tow, especially if the conditions were not crazy? I am writing this with absolutely zero experience of towing a large yacht but it would seem to be worth the risk, at least on paper (or computer screen, as the case may be). If not put it under tow then at least leave someone on board to take command of the vessel. Surely one should be able to claim some kind of salvage rights? It would also eliminate a serious danger to navigation. Your thoughts?
We had planned on raising anchor today and moving 20 miles or so down the coast to Roseau to do some hiking and stage for our passage to Martinique. Yesterday, however, we were coerced by some friends at a cruisers’ get-together to postpone our departure for another day so that we can attend the Sunday evening barbecue party put on by the boat boys here. I guess we’re easily influenced as we’ve decided to stay another day. The Boiling Lake will still be there when we arrive, that much I’m sure of.
This is the song that I was working on when Rebecca snapped the pic above…