An online newspaper covering the South Atlantic Ocean has an inspirational story about a ship that sailed 180 miles out of its way to pick up a sick child on the remote island of St. Helena. The Dutch Vessel, MV Traveller, had already sailed past the island when its crew was asked to return to pick up the child. They did so and took her – again out of their way – to the island of Georgetown, which has an airport. Dan Newlin tells us from there, the eight year old girl was flown to London for treatment. The call for help was put out by the Coast Guard.
I thought this was a beautiful story. The owners of the MV Traveller, who made the final decision to return, absolutely did the right thing. They probably lost quite a bit of money by doing so, since the shipping world runs on very narrow profit margins, and will hopefully make up their financial losses with good publicity. The story shows that, as small as the world has become with the Internet and satellite communication, the South Atlantic is still a remote wilderness in many respects.
Interestingly, an airport is currently being built in St. Helena. While this will be a good thing for emergencies like this one, some are concerned that air access to the island will ruin its special character.