s/y Escape West offers gratitude to Victor Langerwerf

s/y Escape West offers gratitude to Victor Langerwerf

When the Norwegian family approached Curaçao on their Beneteau First 47.7, they had no idea that the borders were closing and drama was unfolding.

By - 25/03/2020

Today, the OCC announced that Victor Langerwerf was to receive a Special Award for his efforts to assist an OCC family in transit being refused entry to a country as a result of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. This is the back story told as it unfolded on Facebook over the past few days.

Dag Hoiland writes, "This [award] is so well deserved.

When approaching Curaçao, we were ordered by the coastguard to not enter. After discussions, we were to wait in a bay without anchoring from 4am. At 1pm we had not heard anything from any of the authorities we had called and radioed.

Then we saw a man paddling towards our boat and he approached us. It was Victor Langerwerf [OCC POR]. Before anyone else, he had picked up on the situation, tracked us down on MarineTraffic, got in the car, drove to where we were and paddled out to us.

He told us he would be our support from land, had already been in contact with the press, offered to help with provisioning and whatever else we may need. To us it was a huge relief to have someone engaging when authorities did not respond.

From this first meeting, and still, he has been following up with providing us with groceries, kept the press on the case, kept us informed on progress and has been available for us.

We applaud the recognition from OCC, and it shows the value of reaching out and helping fellow sailors.

With respect and regards, Vetle (the 5yo), Theresa and myself, Dag.

We are soo glad to see Victor being acknowledged for his efforts, personal style and the result he brought us and fellow sailors."


Victor writes, "Thank you and the OCC!

Once, I was in the Atlantic and got dismasted. We got help from a very big tanker. Thanks to their given diesel we could reach Halifax safely.

I was glad to help out a fellow cruiser. It is nice to do something back. And of course, if there was another case tomorrow, I will help out again.

Sorry English is not my native language.

Thanks and business as usual,

Victor"


To add to the story, the OCC Norwegian vessel s/y Escape West was one of 9 that were stranded around that time. Victor helped all of the boats in similar ways.

Escape West were waiting for the morning light to go into reserved space in the Spanish waters on Friday the 20th of March when the coast guard called and told them Curaçao was closed, that they cannot enter their waters. They had left St Martin Sunday evening when Curaçao was open and no one had heard anything of a closing. They found themselves with a young child, low on supplies, and tired after the passage. Curaçao authorities told them to go but where? They understood the virus threat and respected it but could not just go without knowing where and being prepared. This was against the principles of safety at sea.

The Coastguard did not allow entry to Curaçao, forcing them to anchor in Spanish Waters. Then the Coastguard contacted them informing them that they would use force to remove them from Curaçao. Victor informed all the press in Curaçao via a press release. He asked them to put pressure on the government to act (fast) and in the right way. He also contacted the Norwegian Consulate at Curaçao.

As a result of Victor's quick action, on the 22nd of March, they were allowed to stay another 48 hours. At least they were able to get their provisioning. He was told that soon a decision was to be made by the Minister-President and his team of ministers. He then learned that it was not only s/y Escape West, but there were also 8 more sailing vessels (non-OCC) in the same position. So he got the press involved and used all of his (Government) contacts! He now had nine families to ‘fight’ for!

Thankfully, the situation has been resolved and, on the 24th of March, Escape West was permitted to remain in Curaçao thanks to the quick and decisive action of our POR Victor Langerwerf. We thank you and all the other OCC POs/PORs who are looking out for us out there.

Update 27-03-20

s/y Escape West

Just got a firm confirmation that we now are officially in Curaçao. What a relief!!

14 days of quarantine with social distance that will end next Friday. This is as expected.

Again, a huge thanks to Victor Langerwerf and all locals that have helped, shared encouraging comments or come by the boat to say hi.

Also a great thanks to officials that do their job as good as they can in confusing times. We are looking forward to seeing more of this beautiful place.

Vetle (the 5yo), Theresa and Dag

Photo credit: Victor Langerwerf.

Article about Dag Holland as reported on the front page of the main Curaçaoin newspaper, thanks to Victor Langerwerf, can be accessed below.


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