|Coastguard searching the coastline|
It's that time of year when people plan ahead for their summer vacation and many will choose to go on a cruise. Whether sailing the Med, Atlantic, Caribbean, or the Far East, it will most probably set the holidaymaker back in excess of £1,000.00/US$1542.00 per person.
Whatever the discerning traveller could wish for is on board these liners, palatial cabins, steward service, wide choice of restaurants, bars and leisure facilities, including a promise by the tour companies that you'll have the luxurious holiday of a lifetime.
Before you think you're reading a travel item please read on.
Far away from this style of ocean travel, are the refugees who take to the sea to escape from war torn countries and who pay human traffickers to transport them in overcrowded, inhumane conditions to European shores. In the last week alone, in excess of 1500 people have been rescued by coastguards in the Canaries and Italy.
For instance, on New Years Eve when we were celebrating the end of our year, a wooden patera arrived in the Canaries with 41 Africans on board, 32 men, 4 women and 5 children. This was the 16th vessel to arrive on these shores in 2014, but there are no statistics telling us the numbers of arriving unseen, or who lost their lives on the perilous journey.
The Italian authorities also had to rescue 1300 such refugees in the last week, after finding two freighters, adrift in rough seas, with no crew, fuel for the displaced travellers onward journey, and. little, or no food, or water. A new year has opened it's door to us, but unfortunately the human plight for many has not ended.