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Rogue Antarctic sailors prompt search

Published: 8:21AM Wednesday January 25, 2012 Source: ONE News

  • Nilaya yacht in Auckland harbour (Source: nilaya.co.nz)
    Nilaya in Auckland harbour - Source: nilaya.co.nz

A sea and air search is under way for two rogue Norwegian adventurers who may be on the way back to the Ross Sea.

Authorities have been told Jarle Andhoey may be making a second attempt to cross Antarctica on quad bikes and New Zealand Customs is seeking information on the vessel Nilaya's location.

A boat has been searching Auckland Harbour and around Waiheke Island, and an aircraft has been carrying out an aerial sweep.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says Andhoey arrived in New Zealand early this year and failed to declare that he had previously been deported from Canada.

In February last year Andhoey and a companion were crossing the ice in Antarctica on quad bikes when their support yacht Beserk sank with three crew members on board.

A week-long international search and rescue operation, co-ordinated by the Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand, covered more than 25,000 square kilometres, in often-treacherous seas and 180 kilometre an hour winds.

Andhoey and crewman Samuel Massie were dropped off near Scott Base to undertake a trip to the South Pole on four-wheel-drive quad bikes.

The yacht's emergency beacon was activated soon after they were dropped off. It lasted for several hours before transmissions ceased and it was believed the yacht, and three remaining crew, had sunk in one of the worst Antarctic storms in 20 years.

At the time, Antarctica New Zealand chief executive Lou Sanson said the trip at that time of year was unusual, and Andhoey broke safety protocols.

The Norwegian Government has notified Antarctic Treaty Parties that it is concerned Andhoey may be planning another voyage to the Ross Sea. It says no expedition has been authorised as required by Norwegian law.

The Southern Ocean is one of the most remote and inhospitable areas in the world and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says they are "obviously concerned about any possibility that there could be a repeat of last year's events in the Ross Sea".

Yacht search

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) is asking people to look out for a yacht called Nilaya, which may have left Auckland on Monday.

The Nilaya - which means "paradise" or "pleasure" - has been on sale in New Zealand for $345,000 - down from the original asking price of $570,000.

The registered owner of the Auckland yacht and the man advertising it for sail is Douglas Easton of Auckland, who runs a building consultancy firm. He could not be contacted for comment this morning.

"Nilaya is a magnificent, New Zealand-built 54 foot custom steel pilothouse yacht," a website sale note says.

"Well equipped, easily handled, a comfortable and good looking luxury sailboat.

"The 22 ton 'small superyacht' is well suited to safe blue water cruising, live aboard or simply entertaining out in the Bay."

Registered to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, the yacht is described as being of rare quality.

"She has a large saloon and dining area, master stateroom with ensuite and generous guest accommodation. All is low maintenance.

"This is a vessel that needs to be seen in person and is ready and capable of taking her new owners on the cruise of a lifetime in comfort, safety and style. Her shallow draft and strong construction make her an ideal vessel for live-aboard cruising."

- with Fairfax

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