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The parents of 13-year-old Laura Dekker who want to allow their daughter to go on a solo sailing trip around the world have been partially stripped of their parental authority.
A judge in Utrecht granted a request by the Child Protection Agency to make the girl a ward of court, effectively blocking Laura's record-breaking attempt. According to the agency it was "irresponsible for such a young girl to make a two-year solo trip around the world".
The 13-year-old is an experienced sailor, like her parents. She has already made solo crossings of the North Sea, to the dismay of the authorities in the English port of Lowestoft, who briefly detained Laura when her father refused to come over and escort her back across the sea on board her yacht, Guppy. Laura takes after her father Dick Dekker, who as a boy aged 12 set sail from IJmuiden harbour, alone in a sailing boat on the North Sea.
The case was brought to the attention of the Dutch Youth Care Bureau by a schools inspector, who observed that Laura would be missing school for two years. All Dutch children are obliged by law to attend school until they are 16 years of age. Their parents are required to ensure they are enrolled in school and actually attend classes.