- Israel mulls gift of West Bank land to Palestinians
- Stocks gain as investors weigh economic news
- Doctors say ‘profound’ new HIV treatment may prove the cure
- Mexican truck with radioactive load stolen
- NYPD head Ray Kelly wins big retirement perk — a $1.5M tax-paid team of bodyguards
- #smh: Pentagon may forgive recruits’ vulgar, disrespectful social media posts
- Libraries to feds: Stop spying on us
- Britain eyes new powers to thwart Islamic extremists
- Angry NTSB ousts railroad union from N.Y. train crash site
- Sen. Bernie Sanders hints at White House run
Countries paying teen’s rescue costs defend sea law
Question of the Day
The 11-hour flight cost an estimated 110,000 Australian dollars ($94,500 U.S.).
The second day, after locating her, the agency sent another plane to coordinate her pickup by ships racing toward her damaged and drifting yacht.
The Australian military also deployed two Orion aircraft to wait on an Indian Ocean island in case an airdrop or further assistance was needed. An Orion costs about 30,000 Australian dollars an hour to operate.
In the meantime, the French territory of Reunion Island diverted three ships to Miss Sunderland’s location. The fishing vessel that reached her first lost at least three days of work; a commercial ship also sent to her rescue would have added three or four days of travel time to its intended destination.
Her rescue Saturday within two days of setting off the emergency call was welcomed in Australia and in her home state of California. But amid the well-wishers on online forums and news sites were many who questioned why Australia and France were footing the bill for an American teenager’s solo quest.
Readers in online forums and on news sites have questioned the enormous costs of rescuing one teenager who chose to set off alone in winter into a dangerous ocean.
But the countries involved in the rescue effort have brushed off questions about the cost of the rescue and have no plans to seek recompense. Rescues at sea are a no-cost agreement under international conventions regarding maritime search-and-rescue operations.
“That’s not the way the law works,” federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters on the weekend. “The Australian taxpayer at the end of the day makes a contribution, but we have to put this in context. If there was an Australian lost at sea, we would want … every effort to be made to save that person.”
The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea was first adopted in 1914 in response to the Titanic disaster. Along with mandating the number of lifeboats and the notification of a ship’s routes, it also dictates that any ship in the area of a distress call will divert to assist that ship.
Miss Sunderland’s boat foundered right on the border of the French and Australian search-and-rescue regions, thousands of miles from any land. Australia had the resources to send out surveillance aircraft, while Reunion Island had ships close enough to reach her within 48 hours. Her rescue was relatively simple because her emergency signal was still working. But the great distances for the journeys by sea and air can add up in fuel, manpower and loss of business costs.
“The simple problem involved is that if you have troubles in the Northern Hemisphere, there’s plenty of first-world countries that are all close together and can rescue you,” said Neil James, executive director of the Australian Defence Association. “But if you run into trouble in the Southern Hemisphere, you’re essentially a problem that belongs to South Africa, France, Australia, Chile and Argentina, and there are enormous distances involved.”
Australia’s search-and-rescue region encompasses 21.1 million square miles — 10 percent of the earth’s surface.
It wasn’t the first time Australia has coordinated — and paid for — a dramatic sea rescue. The hype surrounding Miss Sunderland’s rescue recalled a few other expensive operations by Australia’s maritime services.
By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
Bad science puts rich nations on the hook for trillions in climate liabilities
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- MILLER: Obamas EPA closing smelter will not affect ammunition supply
- Issa: FBI impeding inquiry into IRS targeting of conservative groups
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- Westboro Baptists slam actor Paul Walker: He's 'in Hell'
- Last call: State Dept. bought $180,000 in liquor before shutdown
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- Harry Reid gives some staffers a pass on Obamacare
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
This column will cover anything that has anything remotely to do with the game of baseball, from the game itself to mid-summer trades to offseason moves.
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
Never apologetic. Never afraid. Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West joins Communities to bring tales from the biggest Foxhole of them all, the one inside the Beltway.