Authorities call off search for Berserk / News / The Foreigner

The Foreigner Authorities call off search for Berserk. New Zealand rescue authorities have decided to stop search for Berserk and her three missing crewmembers. “Sadly, given the absence of any further sign of the vessel or the crew, combined with the recent extreme weather conditions and near-freezing temperatures currently experienced in the Ross Sea, it has gone beyond the point where we could reasonably expect anyone to be found alive,” says Nigel Clifford, General Manager of Maritime New Zealand Safety Services. Continuous search efforts have been conducted to find Norwegians 36-year-old Tom Gisle Bellika and Robert Skaanes (34), as well as Leonard J. Banks (32) from South Africa, since the yacht went missing in the Southern Ocean, 18 nautical miles (33km) north of Scott Base in the Ross Sea a week ago.

berserk, antarctica, scottbase, rosssea, missingnorwegians, jarleandhoey, samuelmassie, tomgislebellika, robertskaanes, leonardbanks, steveirwin



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Authorities call off search for Berserk

Published on Tuesday, 1st March, 2011 at 14:33 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 3rd March 2011 at 17:22.

New Zealand rescue authorities have decided to stop search for Berserk and her three missing crewmembers.



Difficult

“Sadly, given the absence of any further sign of the vessel or the crew, combined with the recent extreme weather conditions and near-freezing temperatures currently experienced in the Ross Sea, it has gone beyond the point where we could reasonably expect anyone to be found alive,” says Nigel Clifford, General Manager of Maritime New Zealand Safety Services.

Continuous search efforts have been conducted to find Norwegians 36-year-old Tom Gisle Bellika and Robert Skaanes (34), as well as Leonard J. Banks (32) from South Africa, since the yacht went missing in the Southern Ocean, 18 nautical miles (33km) north of Scott Base in the Ross Sea a week ago.

“Therefore, after carefully reviewing all of the information gathered over the last week, and in the absence of any further developments, the Director of Maritime New Zealand has accepted the recommendation to formally suspend the search as of 4.30pm (local time) today. This difficult decision has not been made lightly, and we pass on our deepest sympathies to the families of the three men,” Mr Clifford says.

Authorities say the three search and rescue vessels, ‘Steve Irwin’, ‘The Professor Khromov’ (aka ‘The Spirit of Enderby’), 'HMNZS Wellington', together with small boats, and a helicopter from the ‘Steve Irwin’ have spent 141 hours covering approximately 26,000km2. Survival times in the freezing waters are estimated at 90 minutes with an immersion suit, less than 30 minutes without.

Criticism

Berserk’s captain, Jarle Andhøy, who is safe and well after being recovered on the ice together with other survivor 18-year-old Samuel Massie, has been harshly criticised for undertaking the fated expedition.

On Sunday, New Zealand newspaper The Sunday Star Times claimed it was a “foolhardy voyage to Antarctica by a group of self-proclaimed Vikings.”

Personnel from the HMNZS Wellington, the same ship that was sent out to search for the vessel, warned Berserk’s crew of the approaching heavy weather that forced the ship to turn back, the day before the yacht’s emergency beacon sent out the distress signal.

“They gave us a call and asked us for a packet of cigarettes. We did not have any, but we gave them a cigar. The yacht seemed a very sturdy, oceangoing yacht and they were three cheerful Norwegians,” Lieutenant Commander Simon Griffith told the paper.

Berserk’s crew was also not given permission to sail further south than 60 degrees south by the Norwegian Polar Institute, and allegedly contravened Norwegian governmental regulations relating to the protection of the region’s environment.

“They did not tell Norwegian authorities of their voyage to the Antarctic,” director Jan-Gunnar Winther told NRK.

The war of words intensified yesterday, with TV2 reporting Jarle Andhøy as claiming, “we don’t need permission to sail down there.”

Consequences

Neither New Zealand authorities nor Sea Shepherd, the owners of ‘Steve Irwin’ will be claiming compensation from Mr Andhøy.

NRK reports the Polar Institute has now decided to consider legal action against him for failing to obtain their permission for the expedition, however. The next two days will be spent obtaining relevant documentation before a decision is made about whether to file charges.

Meanwhile, Maritime New Zealand Safety Services General Manager Nigel Clifford says the search could also be resumed if any significant new information came to light.

“This was a truly international search and rescue effort, with people and agencies from a host of different countries banding together to try to find Berserk and its crew. We particularly want to acknowledge the courageous and dedicated efforts of crews from the three search vessels and helicopter involved, who selflessly put themselves on the line to help out. Tragically, our best efforts look to have been in vain,” he says.




Published on Tuesday, 1st March, 2011 at 14:33 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 3rd March 2011 at 17:22.

This post has the following tags: berserk, antarctica, scottbase, rosssea, missingnorwegians, jarleandhoey, samuelmassie, tomgislebellika, robertskaanes, leonardbanks, steveirwin.





  
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