UPDATED: Norwegian captain Jarle Andhøy of the ill-fated ‘Beserk’ expedition is allegedly making a second attempt to reach Antarctica. Latest reports suggest part of the journey is to look for the yacht.
New Zealand authorities have initiated a hunt for the 54-foot ‘Nilaya’ luxury yacht reportedly heading towards Antartica. Samuel Massie is also believed to be aboard.
According to NRK, Mr Andhøy has sonar and camera equipment, as well as a photographer with him. It is also believed he plans to recover equipment left on his last attempt to reach the South Pole and try again.
The New Zealand Customs Service is looking for the 22-tonner by plane and International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators staff have been alerted, reports Radio New Zealand. The search has now been suspended for the night, and is expected to resume tomorrow morning local time.
Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) officials have also asked people to keep a lookout for the yacht, which sailed from Auckland, Monday.
Birgit Njåstad, head of section at authorizing body the Norwegian Polar Institute, told The Foreigner earlier today, “We have received a rudimentary notice but have not issued approval because the information is not complete. The vessel has not crossed 60°S, so no breach has been committed so far.”
Surivors 34-year-old Mr Andhøy and Samuel Massey (18) were picked up last year after the ‘Berserk’ sank without a trace in Mc Murdo Sound, killing three of its crew. Only a lifeboat was recovered.
A huge search was mounted following the distress call from the Ross Sea, but rescuers failed to find Norwegians Robert Skaanes (34, Trondheim), Tom Gisle Bellika (36, Oslo), and 32-year-old South African Leonard Banks. All three are presumed perished.
Jarle Andhøy was also fined 25,000 kroner for breaking the Antarctic Treaty following the expedition, undertaken without insurance.
About the supposed new South Pole expedition, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs press spokesperson Svein Michelsen says, “We have been in contact with authorities in New Zealand about this case over the past month about this case and are waiting for further information.”
“We are aware of media reports from New Zealand, but as far as we are aware officials have not been in contact with us either yesterday or today.”