Coastguards mystified by abandoned $600,000 schooner

A half eaten meal, charts of the Mediterranean and piles of clothes were found on board a $600,000 boat discovered abandoned and floating off the Italian coast last week. The 20m(66ft) schooner Bel Amica was discovered off the coast of Punta Volpe, Sardinia, by coastguards on a routine patrol.

Strong currents were pushing it towards rocks, so coastguards boarded the vessel. Finding it deserted, with a punctured tender on board, they towed it to the nearby port of Olbia where it is being examined.

A spokesman for the local Coastguard said that they were working with the police to try and establish whether the yacht had been intentionally abandoned and the wherabouts of its crew. Initial checks with shipping registers found no yacht under the name Bel Amica, and no vessels have been reported missing or stolen in the area.

Olbia harbour officials admitted that ‘the discovery is a compete mystery. The yacht is in perfect condition and is a very valuable classic twin-masted schooner. It gave the impression of being abandoned very quickly, but for what reason we just don’t know.’

The investigation continues.