Court re-examines Laura Dekker’s solo yacht plans

27th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

The court will study the reports of child protection services and a psychological expert before making its ruling on Friday.

The Hague – A Dutch court on Monday re-examined a 14-year-old's bid to set sail on a solo round-the-world yacht voyage, which it had earlier barred by placing her in the temporary care of social services.

"The court studied the reports of child protection services and a psychological expert," Mariska Woertman, a spokeswoman for teenager Laura Dekker, told AFP.

The children's court in Utrecht will make its ruling on Friday.

On 28 August, the court placed Dekker under the care of child protection services for two months and said a full study was needed to assess the dangers before Dekker could be allowed to embark on her trip.

This effectively stripped the teenager's parents of the right to make decisions about her for that period of time.

Her father supports her plans to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world solo, while her mother has expressed some concerns in the Dutch press.

Child protection agents had referred the case to the children's court, asking it to suspend the parental authority of Laura's mother and father, who were backing her bid to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world solo.

Welfare workers asked the court on Monday to extend the custody arrangement, Dutch news agency ANP reported.

Dekker had planned to set out on her 8.3-metre (27-foot) Hurley 800 sloop named Guppy in September, financed by sponsors, while pursuing her education via the internet and keeping in touch with her family via satellite phone.

Her voyage was expected to last two years.

Her father, Dick Dekker, had applied in July for an exemption for Laura from obligatory schooling. The request was refused and child protection authorities alerted.

Laura and both her parents were present for Monday's hearing which was held behind closed doors, Woertman said.

In August a 17-year-old Briton, Mike Perham, became the youngest person to sail solo around the world with assistance.

AFP / Expatica

0 Comments To This Article