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Started by GyratingTrampoline on Jun 12, 2022 10:37:46 PM
Maritime law, duty to provide assistance

So apparently when at sea, if someone needs help and you are in a position to help them, then it is illegal not to do so.

Why is this not the case on land? There are far more people in need of assistance on land than at sea.

What would a society with a duty to provide assistance look like? I assume there would be no homelessness for starters

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AdrianNTierney - 13 Jun 2022 02:49:58 (#1 of 15)

But homelessness has very little to do with housing availability, you see.

The duty to assist is based upon the old sailors belief that learning to swim was an invitation and invocation of evil. So to keep from dying requires immediate assistance to a vessel in peril.

widenation - 13 Jun 2022 03:16:03 (#2 of 15)

What about pirates in need of assistance?

indlovubill - 13 Jun 2022 07:25:38 (#3 of 15)

What about pirates in need of assistance?

Same deal, easily verified on YouTube.

HouseOfLametta - 13 Jun 2022 07:35:08 (#4 of 15)

Doesn't get you off the hook.

GyratingTrampoline - 13 Jun 2022 09:35:12 (#5 of 15)

#1 just because homelessness isn't caused by lack of housing doesn't mean that a shore-based duty to assist wouldn't be transformative. We would have a duty to address the complex web of reasons why someone became homeless.

Re learning to swim, even strong swimmers can drown very quickly if cold water shock makes them inhale water. And being able to swim is no help if you're too far from land to swim to it.

Agaliarept - 13 Jun 2022 09:41:28 (#6 of 15)

Why is this not the case on land?

It is in a few places.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Samaritan_law

FleurDuMal - 13 Jun 2022 09:46:42 (#7 of 15)

Why is this not the case on land? There are far more people in need of assistance on land than at sea.

It is in France.

Ginmonkey - 13 Jun 2022 09:47:40 (#8 of 15)

There are statutory duties of that type already imposed on public bodies. Taking your example of homelessness, I don't think you could impose a duty on private citizens to do things like provide assistance to homeless people What would that even look like? Inviting any street homeless people you come across to your house, paying their rent, giving them money for a hostel space?

It would also be an very unevenly spread burden. I live in London and in a day travelling in to central London I can easily encounter a good number of people who appear to be living on the street. Would it be my duty to help every person I walked past?

Ginmonkey - 13 Jun 2022 09:51:35 (#9 of 15)

There are also duties on motorists to stop at the scene of an accident.

I think the providing assistance at sea thing acknowledges the additional dangers of being at sea - a person in trouble at sea is unlikely to be able to help themselves, they are in more immediate danger, it might be a long time before any other boats pass by. I also assume it is an obligation that predates modern communications so it was assumed that the people in trouble at sea could not call for help or alert authorities, so relied on passing boats to assist them.

limegreen - 13 Jun 2022 09:53:04 (#10 of 15)

Didn't there used to be a statutory duty of some sort on the Minister for Health? Removed under Lansley's reforms.

I think the maritime law is more about stopping people drowning, and taking them to land. It's about immediate assistance. As people on land we need all sorts of long term support services, some of which exist some of which don't. But there are definitely times in life when you think, 'What now? I wish there was a designated service to help' and there isn't.

Ginmonkey - 13 Jun 2022 09:58:03 (#11 of 15)

It's more there is a patch work of services which have duties to help in specific circumstances. Often situations and lives are messy and people fall through the cracks.

limegreen - 13 Jun 2022 10:02:12 (#12 of 15)

Definitely. But there are a lot of cracks. And not just for the people who fall through them majorly. We all know a bit of it

Tenesmus - 13 Jun 2022 14:03:54 (#13 of 15)

I guess the sea thing is to stop people saying "nah, he's not within our territorial waters, he's France's problem not ours" and sailing merrily by.

GyratingTrampoline - 13 Jun 2022 15:17:06 (#14 of 15)

As if that would happen.

Oh

fogsake - 13 Jun 2022 15:20:38 (#15 of 15)

#7

It is in Germany.

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