Posted By RichC on March 24, 2007
More Earthrace talk and another update … yes, I’ve become enamored with this project. Currently I’m working to get a little U.S. media coverage of their situation; we’ll see what comes of it? I’ve received a few emails from Pete and project members and in reading the recent blog postings have concluded that the tragedy might be taking a slight turn for the better. (for the family of the the dead and injury fisherman and for Earthrace and its crew) Including above is a photo of the Guatemalan fishing skiff that was hit earlier in the week by Earthrace; it was recently towed to shore and being reviewed for evidence. The good new is that the insurance company for Earthrace has arrived at a settlement with the families of the Guatemalan fisherman and by doing this it doesn’t necessarily pin the blame on the crew or captain of Earthrace. This settlement should eliminate at least the civil suit so that only the criminal component remains. More from Captain Pete Bethune below.
The family settles. Captainâ€™s Blog. Day 13. (23 March 2007)
Guatemalan people are an interesting mix. Most are short, and with a heavy Mayan influence. The odd one is average or tall, most probably descended from Spanish ancestry. And every now and then youâ€™ll see a stunningly beautiful combination of genes. Lance has been sniffing around a couple of lookers at the local hotel. â€œFat chance you haveâ€, says Ryan.
10am and word comes through that an agreement has been reached with the family. This is good news. Our insurance will pay a sum of money to assist the family of the lost fisherman, the medical bills of the injured fisherman, and also to purchase a new fishing boat, hopefully complete with white light. Itâ€™s actually not a huge amount of money, although by Guatemalan standards I suspect it is. I have mixed feelings about insurance paying out. On the one hand I see it as an admission of guilt, which Fernando assures me it isnâ€™t. But on the other, it does allow these families to move on from what has been a devastating tragedy. They are a desperately poor people, and the team sees this every time they leave the military compound. It still has me meeting the Judge on Monday, and he will make a decision on whether Iâ€™m to stand trial in their equivalent of a criminal court. Assuming he doesnâ€™t delay us again. Iâ€™m still pretty confident however heâ€™ll let us go. I give GC4 a call on her cellphone. â€œLets see if the family will meet us nowâ€. Weâ€™d been trying to meet then from day 1, but the lawyers had been fending us off. Now that a settlement has been reached, Iâ€™m hopeful theyâ€™ll let us at least express our sorrow at what has happened. Iâ€™m not sure if the family will want to know the story of what happened that night, but they should at least be given the chance to find out. Weâ€™re also keen to see Gonzalez. We spent such an intense night with him aboard Earthrace, and I see the one positive thing to come from the event was we were able to save him.
â€œProps all ready to goâ€, says GC5 as he comes rolling into the office. GC5 is like a Trojan. He slings himself at jobs and continues to get them sorted. Heâ€™d be one of the most productive people Iâ€™ve worked with on Earthrace, and he continues to amaze me with his work rate. It means, subject to getting some antifreeze and engine oil, Earthrace is ready to leave. Just a pity we wonâ€™t be allowed to.
My ankle has improved slightly, and I can put a little weight on it now. Although it is uglier than ever, now a combination of blue and yellow. But it is on the mend. I remain under military guard in the compound, with my ever-present shadow, but the rest of the team can come and go as they like. Ryan is staying with the GCs at a hotel now, and turns up at the base for the day. And the lot of them are buggering off to a city nearby for the weekend. Which is quite depressing, when Iâ€™ll be stuck here. But themâ€™s the breaks.