Which way is west?

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JULY 19 — Two Irishmen needed rescuing Saturday night after they stole a fishing boat — but neither knew how to operate it.

The men, according to news reports, missed a ferry home to Ireland from Holyhead Harbor in northwestern Wales. Instead of spending the night there, the pair apparently decided to steal a 30-foot trawler, named Le Bon Mawr, and make the passage across the Irish Sea themselves.

Not long after getting under way the men, ages 18 and 20, became disoriented and placed a mayday call, news reports say. According to rescuers the boat had been going in circles and was headed in the wrong direction.

“It was evident straight away that since they didn’t initially call the distress situation on the distress channel, channel 16 — they called on channel 14, which is the port control frequency — they didn’t know what they were talking about,” Ray Carson, of the Holyhead Lifeboat Station, says in a report. “They were totally disoriented, they didn’t know any nautical terminology whatsoever, and I think in all honesty they were quite frightened.”

After being spotted by rescuers and towed back to Holyhead Harbor, the men were questioned by North Wales Police, reports say. They were given warnings and later released without being issued criminal charges.

— Jason Fell