A 44-year-old Florida man has created a strange hamster-wheel-shaped boat to cross the ocean and raise money for various causes.
The U.S. Coast Guard boarded him off Tybee Island, Georgia, and arrested him after three days of negotiations.
Baluchi was arrested on charges of Impeding Boarding and Violating an Order of the Port Captain.
Who knowswhat the U.S. Coast Guard must have thought when it boarded a strange vessel last August 26, 110 kilometers off Tybee Island, Georgia.
The shape was unmistakably that of a large hamster wheel: so large that a man could fit inside it and, thanks to blades mounted on the outside as if it were a mill, could run in it and move forward.
He is Reza Baluchi, a 44-year-old man who was already known to them because he had attempted other times in the past to cross the ocean in bizarre boats.
give up, however, he wanted no part of it. Indeed, it took the coast guardsmen three days to convince him, partly because Baluchi threatened to kill himself and said he had a bomb on board (which turned out to be false).
After much insistence, they finally succeeded in convincing and arrested him on the dual charges of Impeding Boarding (i.e., the act of preventing the proper authorities from boarding a vessel) and Violating an Order of the Port Captain. They succeeded fortunately in time given the deteriorating weather conditions that were turning to hurricane, which is why the Coast Guard was patrolling the waters in search of boats in distress or to deter those they found from venturing further.
As we said, Baluchi-who, by the way, is a marathon runner (a detail that obviously intrigued us)-had attempted crossings before. In 2014 he was sailing with a similar contraption near St. Augustine, two years later he was rescued off the coast of Jupiter near Palm Beach, Florida, and finally in 2021 he was arrested after being rescued while trying to sail from Florida to New York.
This time the destination was London, and the motive was not-at least according to him-to perform a crazy feat but to raise money for a variety of causes, including the homeless and the Coast Guard (that’s right, the Coast Guard), as well as the fire department and the police.
As he himself told a local TV station, “They are in public service, doing it for safety and helping others.” And he had multiple confirmations of this.