Iranian Attempted to Sail from the US to the UK on a Hamster Wheel
In the United States, an Iranian marathon runner has been arrested for attempting to reach London from Florida using an improvised floating device that resembles a hamster wheel.
This is reported by the BBC.
The U.S. Coast Guard spotted 44-year-old Reza Baluchi more than 100 kilometers off the eastern coast of the U.S. He refused to disembark from the "wheel" and threatened to detonate himself, but it turned out to be a bluff.
Baluchi's journey began a few days before a powerful hurricane named Franklin brushed part of the Caribbean Basin and headed toward the U.S. He claimed he wanted to cross the Atlantic Ocean and reach Great Britain, but authorities did not allow him to continue his voyage.
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) decided that the homemade vessel was "clearly unsafe" and remained afloat with the help of buoys and ropes. However, Reza Baluchi refused to disembark for three days until officers managed to safely extract him and bring him ashore.
The man showed officers that he was armed with two knives, each the size of a 30-centimeter ruler, and threatened to kill himself if removed from the floating device. He also claimed to have an explosive device on board, holding wires in his hand. Law enforcement called in bomb disposal experts, but later, Reza admitted that the threat was a bluff.
"Judging by the condition of the vessel, U.S. Coast Guard officers concluded that Baluchi was undertaking a clearly dangerous voyage," as stated in the criminal complaint.
He now faces federal charges of interfering with the operation of a vessel and violating a captain's order.
This is not the first time Reza Baluchi has been arrested for attempting to venture into the ocean on a makeshift vessel that he self-describes as a "bubble." In 2021, he was arrested when trying to travel from Florida to New York, but he was carried too far out by the water. In 2014, Reza had to be rescued from St. Augustine, and in 2016, he was found near Palm Beach.
The Iranian activist explained that he attempted these journeys to raise money for various causes, including helping homeless people.
In other news, The Gaze reported that Polish police detained a 72-year-old intoxicated man in the Gdańsk Bay who intended to sail to Denmark on a sailboat but nearly ended up in Russia.
The man couldn't pronounce his name or stand on his own. He explained that he left the port of Gdynia and intended to reach Copenhagen. A breathalyzer test revealed that he had nearly 2 promille of alcohol in his system. Operating a yacht under the influence of alcohol or drugs is prohibited in Poland and is punishable under the Criminal Code's Article 178a or Article 87 of the Administrative Offenses Code. The penalty for such an offense includes imprisonment for up to 2 years.