‘God helped us’

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    Travis Welcome, 50, wasn’t expecting to end up in Houston, 
Texas today.  

    But according to US marine officials, that’s what is supposed to happen after Mr. Welcome and his five shipmates were rescued in western Caribbean waters some nine days after their boat ‘Miss Janice’ sank on 17 July.  

    By sheer chance, the six men were picked up by the CPO Sweden tanker on Tuesday around noon.  

    “We give God the credit,” Mr. Welcome said from a satellite phone on board the oil tanker Wednesday. “He helped us.”  

    Mr. Welcome and his crew, including Caymanians Ernest Rankine, Elvis Welcome, and Chad Ebanks, and Hondurans Ted Woods and Michael Garcia were heading to Roatan with an overloaded 37-foot craft sinking beneath them. Mr. Welcome admitted the boat was overloaded when the weather turned foul and the boat began taking on waves. Mr. Welcome said two huge waves swamped the boat and it went down “in seconds”. It was just five hours after they left the Cayman Islands.  

    The 37-foot craft eventually capsized, but the crew was able to take an emergency lifeboat and raft, as well as a small amount of food and water supplies from the sinking vessel. Mr. Welcome said they attempted to tie up to the Miss Janice, but had to cut loose when the vessel completely sank.  

    They had gone adrift for two days without water when it started to rain. The men collected some water in a two-litre container, Mr. Welcome said, and rationed it until Tuesday morning came.  

    “We made a promise to God, to fast from 6am to noon [on Tuesday],” Mr. Welcome said. “We were praying.’  

    Mr. Welcome said there were several ships that passed by during their days adrift that simply couldn’t see the men. He said they were working signs and using emergency mirrors to try and signal the craft with no luck – until Tuesday.  

    “[On Tuesday] we saw the tanker,” he said. “We thought they were going to pass, but then the ship slowed down and started to turn.” It was Mr. Welcome’s daughter – one of his four children – who received the first phone call about the rescue from the tanker’s satellite phone.  

    Janice Welcome, Travis’s wife and the person for whom the boat was named, said she also had been praying for her husband’s rescue. “I knew in my heart he was alive,” Mrs. Welcome said. “This has been a nightmare.”  

    The families of the six boaters celebrated news of the men’s rescue on Tuesday, after nine days of not knowing their fate. East End Community Development Officer Delmira Bodden said, “Travis called his daughter’s phone at around 2pm, at which time she started screaming and had to give the phone over to his niece. He told her he had been found and was aboard an oil tanker bound for Houston,” Ms Bodden said. She added that Mr. Welcome said the six of them had been floating on a raft for nine days. 

    Family members said they were initially told the tanker would arrive in Houston on Wednesday, but later said the arrival was not expected until Thursday morning.  

    “I have been crying and praying for days now. I couldn’t even look at the sea. I was filled with resentment for the ocean,” said Mrs. Welcome.  

    She explained that her husband Travis had been trying different things to make a living and was trying something new. His plan was to sell the items taken over the Honduras on the Miss Janice, then buy some fish to return to Cayman and sell. He turned to the sea because times were hard and carrying down cargo to Honduras seemed like another option.  

    “I never did like the idea,” she said.  

     Her worst fears were realised after not hearing from her husband, even though she said she was receiving reports from Honduras that the men were there.  

    According to Ms Bodden, “The people in Honduras were saying they were there, but after Janice had not heard from her husband for some time, knew something was wrong, as she knew he would call as soon as he reached land.”  

    Dayon Connor, mother of missing boater Chad Ebanks, said she refused to accept anything had happened to her son and kept praying with the faith that the men would be returned safely. 


    Allan Turner, a journalist with the Houston Chronicle, assisted on this story. 


    From left, Laticia Welcome, Dayon Connor, Allison Nembhard, Janice Welcome and Carolee Royal pray and sing after receiving news of the rescue.


    1. No, GOD did not help you. A giant tanker found you. And you need to give glory to the crewman and stop heaping praise on a invisible man in the sky. Sounds to me like the family are just as dumb as the clowns that left on a leaky overloaded boat to travel hundreds of miles across open sea.

    2. @Logical thinker – And how you got the mind to think logically? And please dont say you went school. You was born from your mothers womb. And please dont say from your father or mother or genes. Where did genes and DNA came from? You just dont know – do you??? If it wasnt for God, the giant tanker wouldnt had found them! They were in the water, you wasnt… so they personally know from first hand experience that despite the mistakes they’ve made, God saved them. So you can always big yourself up in your ego on how you can logically think and think this and that, but there is always someone bigger than you that determines your future and your fate – remember that and be thankful!

    3. God saved them!!of course!!my comment goes to those people who do not want to give the glory to God, some people believe that if God do not give me what I want then he do not exist,we are here for him an according to our faith to our prayers to our heart he will respond but also according to what he thinks is the best so this go to the person who posted the previous comment God saved them and people is the instrument as a believer I would feel more than happy if he uses me to do the good have more faith get to know God and more important is to know that we are here for him.

    4. Quote No, GOD did not help you. A giant tanker found you. And you need to give glory to the crewman and stop heaping praise on a invisible man in the sky. Sounds to me like the family are just as dumb as the clowns that left on a leaky overloaded boat to travel hundreds of miles across open sea.


      Here’s a question. If the boat had been full of pedophiles and murders…. and had been found by the tanker, would all of these disillusioned people say God saved THEM??

      Of course not.

      Silly people.

    5. I am just curious as to what they could have been carrying from Cayman to Honduras…goods here surely cost more than they would in Honduras, right? And, did they have a business license to sell things there? Just wondering…

    6. If God had really wanted to help he would have stopped the waves that capsized the boat. That way the Cayman Islands Government would not have had to waste tens of thousands of dollars in searching for these people. These moneys could have been far better put to use.
      Maybe God can help them reimburse the Island for the cost of the search.

    7. Earlier today, I posed the following question.

      If the boat had been full of pedophiles and murders…. and had been found by the tanker, would any of these Christians have claimed God saved THEM?

      I said of course not.

      And yet, 20 people have disagreed with me.

      Meaning, those people WOULD have believed God saved a boat full of Pedophiles and murderers……

      Isn’t Christianity fun:)

      On a side note, I’m happy everyone survived. They were very, very lucky.

    8. It is easy to criticize and judge Mr. Welcome for declaring, God helped us. Perhaps, if you commenters were in the middle of the ocean for nine days, and saw the swell of waves, large fish, and cold, damp in the dark of the night, not knowing your fate. Just perhaps, you all would be able to understand where he is coming from. I assume that alot of you commenters have no experience of whats it like being in the sea. I dont know, but I have an ichy gut feeling that Mr. Welcome was accurate in what he said… God Helped US.

    9. Typical intolerance toward Christians. I thank God, and our founding fathers who determined that in the United States, we have the freedom to practice our religion, including expressing our belief when God in fact helped us out. Your countrymen and women simply shared their personal experiences about prayer and fasting, and their belief that God rescued them via tanker. Because they expressed their strong faith in God, and his providence over their lives, D refers to them as clowns, and their families dumb, and all believers disillusioned (which isn’t true since believers are quite happy with God); Reality Check explains how God would have really saved them, if it really was God (because Reality Check must know how God operates better then these poor people); and interested bird questions whether of not the boaters possessed a business license, and even what they where carrying with a veiled inference to illegal practices. Then there are the multiple silent readers who agree with the insulting and rude treatment of your fellow countrymen, simply because they are religious. SHAME on all of you for your hateful treatment of these Christians.
      tolerance tl()rns
      1 the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with

    10. k8reader: just a passing observation but does the new found tolerance extend to Gay cruises?

      Are you saying that intolerance is wrong Beachbum??

    11. Are you saying that intolerance is wrong Beachbum??

      Yes, I believe that intolerance is wrong, be it intolerance to anyone who wishes to practice their belief or people who wish to live the lifestyle of their choosing.

      Regrettably, there is significant intolerance within religious communities against those who do not share their brand of religion as there is against people who choose different lifestyles.

      This forum has demonstrated much intolerance to those who believe that their God assisted those rescued and, in the past, the Christian community of Cayman has demonstrated intolerance against Gay and Lesbians. Elsewhere there is intolerance against Muslims/Jews/Hindu/Sikh etc. and within religious families – Catholic -v- Protestant, Shi’ite -v- Sunni and the like.

      Do, you, K8reader, believe that intolerance is always wrong?

    12. Thank you for your response Beachbum. And I agree with you that intolerance is wrong. Unfortunately, many people incorrectly believe that tolerance is the same as agreement it’s not. I am only tolerant if I treat people with respect and courtesy, while I might disagree with them. You also made a judgment about me without even knowing me, by calling my tolerance new found in regards to gay cruises. I find that completely laughable because I live in a country where there are gay cruises, gay clubs, gay towns, gay conventions, gay pride parades, gay bars, gay churches, and gay marriages. I’d say I pass the tolerance test. It seems though, that people only complain when they perceive Christians as being intolerant, and not the other way around. Maybe they don’t think intolerance is wrong at all. The human condition of intolerance runs deep into the heart of man, among those of every religious group as you said, but ALSO male/female, black/white, old/young, tribe1/tribe 2, cheerleaders/brains, etc., etc.. You know what I’m saying? So, I do want to challenge everyone to examine themselves. And for the record, I have personally only seen the changing of intolerant hearts in two places: the US military, and my church.
      Finally, I’ll answer your last question, Do I believe intolerance is always wrong?
      The answer is no. I believe we, as humans should not tolerate the neglect or abuse of children, we should not tolerate genocide, we should not tolerate murder, and we should not tolerate slavery. Thank you for seeing the point I was trying to make.

    13. K8reader: dear, dear, dear. I did not make any assumptions about you other than through actually reading what you wrote. Perhaps you could do me the respect of reading what I wrote.

      You will see I was discussing religious intolerance in the context of this thread and I referred to the new found tolerance

      But never mind, I see intolerance by Christians every time I watch the news which, when compounded by the arrogance of refusing to accept any alternative, is positively dangerous.

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