24 Dec 2009

Teen Dutch sailor back in father's care

3:55 pm on 24 December 2009

A court in the Netherlands has returned teenage sailor Laura Dekker to her father's care following her disappearance last week.

Ms Dekker, 14, wants to become the youngest person to sail single-handed around the world.

She was born at sea off the coast of New Zealand, and used her New Zealand passport to fly first to Paris and then to the Dutch Antilles in the Caribbean.

The ABC reports she returned from the island of St Maarten on Tuesday.

By going there, she violated a court order blocking her sailing trip.

Her lawyer has now said that she went there to buy a boat to start her trip.

He told reporters outside the court that she went to the Caribbean because boats are cheaper there.

It is still unclear how she managed to make the journey unaccompanied.

Ms Dekker's intended voyage was blocked in October by the courts who ruled that, at 14, she was too young.