Court extends state custody for solo-sailing Dutch teen till July 1

Court extends state custody for solo-sailing Dutch teen till July 1 Amsterdam  - A Dutch underage teen planning to sail solo around the world will remain under state custody until July 1, the civil youth court in Utrecht ruled on Friday.

The decision comes following two months during which Laura Dekker, 14, was also placed under state custody upon request of the Child Protection Services.

During this period, a court-appointed psychologist evaluated the girl to determine whether she would be capable of undertaking the two-year voyage.

Emphasizing undertaking would not pose a serious danger to the teen's "social, emotional and identity development", the court said insufficient measures had been taken to ensure Laura's personal safety and health, justifying the extension of state custody until the Summer.

At Monday's hearing during which the court-ordered evaluation was discussed, the girl announced she had postponed her plans until June, because the autumn weather would not be suitable to embark on her trip.

In its ruling, the court said it was concerned Laura had no experience with so-called sleep management, involving continuous interruption of sleep during the night to check whether everything on the sailing boat is under control.

In addition, Laura had not taken a first aid course and her safety plans were underdeveloped. Plans for an experienced sailor to accompany Laura in a separate boat during the voyage, were still too vague as well.

When it came to her education during the two-year trip, the court noted no agreements had yet been made yet with the international school.

It is the second time the court has granted Child Protection Services' request to place Laura under state custody.

Dekker's case came to light when the girl's father formally requested local authorities in the summer to permit Laura to miss school for two years so she could undertake the voyage.

When permission was denied and the father announced he would still support his daughter's plans to sail solo around the world, child protection services launched an investigation and eventually filed a suit in an emergency procedure requesting to place the girl under state custody pending further investigation.

Since their parents divorced in 2002, Laura has been living with her father in the village of Maurik in the central Netherlands while her sister lives with her German-born mother in Friesland in the northern Netherlands. Laura's mother opposes her daughter's plans. (dpa)