Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Ship Goes Missing Off Antarctic Coast
A small sailing yacht has gone missing off the coast of Antarctica after setting off its emergency beacon yesterday amidst rough seas and high winds. The ship is believed to be carrying as many as five passengers, although exactly who was aboard at the time the beacon was turned on is still unknown.
The 14-meter steel hulled Berserk is operated by Berserk Expeditions and conducts small, private sailing adventures in various parts of the world. The yacht was believed to have visited the Antarctic continent where it may have dropped off two passengers who are attempting to drive ATV's to the South Pole. If that event did take place, then three passengers could still be aboard the ship, including the Norwegian skipper Jarle Andhøy. The boat was believed to have possibly four other passengers, including three more Norwegians and a British national.
Rescue ships have been dispatched out of New Zealand to the Southern Ocean to search for the missing yacht, but the bad weather in the region hasn't made the search easy so far. All attempts to contact the ship have also failed and the emergency beacon is no longer transmitting either. Weather reports indicate that 75 knot winds and 6 to 8 meter swells are hitting the area at the moment, although conditions are expected to improve later in the day.
The last known location of the Berserk was approximately 33 nautical miles off the coast of the Antarctic continent, just north of the Scott Base. The current outlook of finding the ship, and her crew, in good condition is a bit grim, but rescue teams are holding out hope none the less.