A capsized catamaran found off Aghulas in South Africa is probably a Sunsail catamaran that has been missing for a year
Sunsail has confirmed that it believes a catamaran, found capsized at sea 40 miles off Cape Aghulas at the southern tip of South Africa, is the Sunsail catamaran that was reported missing in Febrauary 2015.
Sunsail said in a statement:
On 18 January, Sunsail received notification from MRCC that on a Brazilian navy ship had sighted an upturned vessel in the Indian Ocean, off the southern coast of South Africa. On Saturday 23 January, the vessel was sighted again and the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Agulhas duty crew launched a lifeboat. On arrival, the NSRI took photographs and NSRI rescue swimmers free dived to investigate markings on the yacht and, to the extent possible, explore under the hull.
Sunsail intend to carry out an air search today for the overturned yacht which was last sighted off the coast of Cape Town. Following notification from the authorities on 18 January 2016 that the yacht had been sighted, Sunsail had assembled an operational team with a view to recovering the yacht. Sunsail had been in communication with the relevant marine authorities (MRCC and SAMSA) when the authorities decided to take control of the recovery and dispatched the tug boat Peridot. The Peridot attached the vessel and started to tow in the in direction of Cape Town, however, it appears the yacht broke free from the tow on Wednesday and the Peridot has since been conducting a sea-search to try and re-locate the vessel.
Sunsail is funding the air search in the hope that the missing vessel can be found. Sunsail’s team in Cape Town are continuing to liaise with the local authorities.
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) – South Africa’s equivalent to the British RNLI, aslo made the following statement:
At 15h30, Saturday, 23rd January, NSRI Agulhas duty crew launched a sea rescue craft to attempt to locate a capsized catamaran reportedly sighted approximately 42 nautical miles off-shore of Agulhas.NSRI Hermanus launched a sea rescue craft to stand-by in the area as back-up. The floating capsized casualty Catamaran has reportedly been sighted on numerous occasions and hopes are that she is the Catamaran Sunsail that has been missing for a year. On arrival on the scene, following a brief search, the upturned hull of the Catamaran was photographed by NSRI and NSRI rescue swimmers free dived to investigate markings and as much as could be investigated under the hull. NSRI could not positively identify her as Sunsail.
No physical markings were found on the Catamaran to assist to identify her and photographs have been sent to MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre), family of the missing crew of the Catamaran Sunsail and to the Catamaran Sunsail owners to allow them to investigate further.NSRI Agulhas attached a satellite tracking beacon to the casualty Catamaran which MRCC will monitor to keep track of the position while Telkom Maritime Radio Services broadcast a Maritime Navigational Warning to warn ships in the area of the navigational hazard and the tug boat Peridot operated by Smit Amandla were activated and they will attempt to tow the casualty Catamaran to an appropriate Port.