Monday, August 26, 2013

Protocol Costing New Zealand and US

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Search Coordinator Ralph Baird Says Call

 The Department Of State

I was very disappointed to learn the flights had been halted in the Nina search today.  It is not that I disagree with the decision to halt the flights and the $20,000 daily bill the families have to pay to keep the planes in the air.  I have intimate trust in Ralph Baird, Executive Search Advisor with Equusearch.  There are valid reasons to conserve resources pending better information.  

Rather, I see it from the point of view of the sailors.  They are out there, in a floating hell, caught in the circular currents of the immense Tasman Sea, waiting for rescue.  They are catching rain water to survive.  They are fishing and spearing the critters that lurk near the man made reef which once was the national treasure, the historic sailboat Nina.  The people who have the equipment to rescue the sailors won't do it because of bureaucratic stink.

A tranquil scene from the press conference and 

fundraiser for the Nina 7

Professionals realize the Nina is out there.  Yachts that sink cough up flotsam.  Yet, nothing has ever been found of the Nina.  The only evidence the yacht sank is the inability of the authorities to find her.  

"They" thought the Scotch Bonnet sank last year after it was abandoned near the last known position of the Nina.  Except for a single sighting, the Scotch Bonnet was never seen again...until it floated onto Brunswick Heads, New South Wales, an Australian beach, 5 months later.  While the Nina will no doubt float to land, the longevity of the crew is at risk.

John Glennie and three crewmen rode his capsized trimaran for 119 days off the coast of New Zealand until they washed up upon an island.  By then, the authorities had cancelled the search and friends had held a eulogy.  Glennie got the last laugh.  He said he created his own miracle because the authorities were not going to create if for him.  

The problem is, the people who have the ability to look for the Nina have washed their hands of the responsibility to look for her.  They have the assets needed, including long range aircraft for an over-the-ocean search.  They can process satellite information being collected by Equusearch.  They can authorize drift models to be run by the Coast Guard at nominal cost.  They can cooperate with the private organization tasked with doing a government job.  The U.S. has other high-tech means to help the seven sailors aboard the Nina. Yet, the U.S. State Department has placed roadblocks in the way of the private search consultant, Equusearch, at every step.

Worse, by mutual cooperation with the U.S., New Zealand could save millions of tax payer search dollars.  Lives could be saved through the deployment of new search tactics for sailors lost in the Tasman Sea.  If the U.S. and New Zealand rolled up their sleeves and got to work on the Nina case, new frontiers would be forged.  Lives, sailor's lives, rescuer's lives, anguish by worried relatives, all could be prevented if the authorities worked together.

This first effort between countries using high technology might be written off as an exercise to pave the way for future searches.  By those terms, a few dollars invested now by each country would yield huge benefits later.

Media volunteers and organizers prepare a commercial with speaker John Glennie

 Instead, the U.S. sends inquiries from the search coordinator and from families to an office in the U.S. State Department which manages the return of the bodies of persons who have perished in a foreign country.  The State Department is not working in tandem with Equusearch.  By indulging red tape, the U.S. State Department robs the families of the basic right to hope. At least the U.S. State Department can't rob the 7 brave sailors of that same hope.

PLEASE CALL THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT.  The telephone number is 202.642.4000, push #4, then ask for John Kerry's comment phone line. Leave a message!

Please also contribute to the fund to save the Nina 7.  Every cent counts!


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