WELLINGTON: A 14-year-old girl fighting Dutch authorities over her desire to sail around the world solo wants to move to New Zealand to continue her dream.A Dutch court will decide today whether to allow New Zealand-born Laura Dekker to become the youngest person to attempt to sail solo around the world.Child protection services are seeking to prolong her court-ordered official supervision.She needs to complete the trip – which she expects to take two years – before she turns 17 on September 20, 2012, to set the record.Child welfare experts have previously raised concerns about her being cut off from parents and peers and other social stimulus or interaction.Last year she raised plans for the voyage to start when she turned 14, and the District Court in Utrecht granted temporary custody of her to the Dutch Council for Child Protection.She asked her municipality to deregister her as a resident so that she could move to New Zealand, where she was born on a yacht while her parents were sailing round the world.”I was born in Whangarei,” she said. ”And of course I have a New Zealand passport.”In December she breached the court order, running away to the Dutch Caribbean island territory of Saint Martin. Police had to escort her back home.An appeals court in May, citing ”great and unacceptable risks”, upheld the first ruling that barred her from setting sail until at least July 1, when the school year ends, and ordered her to remain under supervision.The court said her father ”has a limited appreciation of the risks involved and ”overestimates” her abilities.In a closed hearing on Monday, child authorities asked the Middelburg District Court to extend the supervision by another two months.An Australian, Jessica Watson, completed the voyage in May, arriving in Sydney days before her 17th birthday.Abby Sunderland, 16, an American, was rescued in the Indian Ocean last week after her yacht was dismasted.Agencies
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