UPDATE: Missing yacht on its way home

The NSRI Agulhas sea rescue team attaches a satellite tracking beacon to the upturned hull.

FAMILIES of the three missing yachtsmen are anxiously waiting to find out more about the overturned hull spotted by a Brazilian navy vessel last week. It is believed that it is being towed back to port today.

According to the families’ spokesman, Diane Coetze, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) sent out a tugboat to the hull yesterday. Craig Lambinon of the National Sea Rescue Initative (NSRI) said the NSRI Agulhas duty crew launched a sea rescue craft at 3.30pm on Saturday and on arrival, 42 nautical miles offshore of Cape Agulhas, photographed the upturned hull. Rescue swimmers dived in to investigate the markings on and under the hull to the best of their capabilities. However they could not positively identify her as the Sunsail.

NSRI reported that no physical markings were found on the catamaran to help identify her and photographs had been sent to the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC), family of the missing crew and the catamaran’s owners to allow them to investigate further.

“NSRI Agulhas attached a satellite tracking beacon to the catamaran which the MRCC would monitor to keep track of the position of the hull until Smit Amandla’s tug, Peridot, arrived at the scene to attempt to tow the catamaran to an appropriate port. Telkom Maritime Radio Services had broadcast a maritime navigational warning to warn ships in the area of the navigational hazard,” wrote Lambinon.

Anthony Murray (58), formerly from Cowies Hill, and two crew members, Reginald (Reg) Robertson (60) and Jaryd Payne (20), set sail on Sunsail RC044-978 from Cape Town harbour on 14 December, 2014 to deliver the Leopard 44 catamaran to Phuket, Thailand, and their expected date of arrival was 2 February. Family members grew concerned when the boat had still not arrived 10 days after its expected date of arrival.

Coetzer, who is Murray’s sister-in-law, said that based on the photographs, the families were fairly certain that it was the hull of the Sunsail. She said that a full statement would be issued once there was more information and the hull had been brought to port. It was uncertain which port it would be taken to at the time of publishing.

Nicole Payne wrote on the Searching for Anthony, Reg and Jaryd Facebook page yesterday: “After an horrendous week, our prayers have been answered and we are so very grateful for all the assistance, prayers and support. It has been just incredible. Please bear with us, we will update soon.”

Click here to read more on the missing catamaran.

Updates to follow.

Deshni Ramkissoon-Pillay

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