Possible closure for families of missing yachtsmen

A Brazilian Navy ship - Amazonas - took photos of a capsized hull spotted off the coast of PE. This has led SAMSA to believe it could be the missing catamaran.

IT’S been almost a year, but the families of missing catamaran crew – Reg Robertson, Anthony Murray and Jaryd Payne – were contacted with hopeful information.

The trio set sail from Cape Town harbour on 14 December 2014 to deliver a Leopard 44 catamaran in Phuket, Thailand and their expected date of arrival was 2 February, but family members grew concerned when the boat had still not arrived 10 days after its expected date of arrival.

There had been reports of sightings on numerous occasions last year; however, bad weather in the region of those sightings made it hard for a merchant ship to re-locate the hull and it had to return to its course.

According to Storme Robertson, Reg’s daughter – who posted a status on the Searching for Anthony, Reg and Jaryd Facbook page – she received a message late on Monday, 18 January that the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) was believed to have sighted the boat off the coast of Port Elizabeth. She wrote: “We urgently need all the help we can get to definitely identify the hull number and find any possible answers with a dive crew or something.”

Diane Coetze also posted on the same Facebook page and wrote: “As many of you probably know, yesterday – 18 January, 2016 – was a year since the last contact with the catamaran that Anthony, Reg and Jaryd were delivering to Thailand. On this day of emotion, anguish and heartache, our attorneys received and passed onto us the incredible news that an overturned hull had been sighted 113 nautical miles off Cape Recife near Port Elizabeth. Although SAMSA cannot confirm it is our hull, they have also informed us that they will not be deploying any recovery resources.

“Photographs sent by the ship that sighted it led us to believe that it is Moorings A5130. We have since learnt that the sighting was in fact made by the Brazilian Navy ship, Amazonas (to whom we are very grateful) early in the day on 14 January and reported to the SA Navy. This means that a drift pattern urgently needs to be done for the current location of the hull as every hour and day that passes increases the area of search. The hull is now within range of an air search as well as a sea search.

“We desperately want whatever answers the hull might provide and are urgently appealing for any and all resources and help to reach it. Please pass this information on to anyone you believe can assist us. We remain deeply grateful for your help over the past year and going forward,” wrote Coetze.

The family has urged those willing to assist in the search to please contact them via the Facebook page or their GoFundMe campaign, which they launched in June last year. The campaign was to raise the funds needed to get to the upturned hull which was previously sighted. To make donations, please visit the page of the GoFundMe campaign: http://www.gofundme.com/t2md9s.

Deshni Ramkissoon-Pillay

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