Investigations underway as NSRI locate catamaran likely involved in year-long sea tragedy

JANUARY 25, 2016

Hopes that a Thailand-bound catamaran that has been missing for a year now has been found were dampened when National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) divers could not identify the markings of a capsized catamaran in Agulas on Saturday. The capsized hull had been spotted numerous times at sea - and off Algoa Bay on 14 January 2016.

Three South Africans, Anthony Murray (58), Reginald Robertson (59) and Jaryd Payne (20) set sail on 14 December 2014 from Cape Town for Phuket to deliver the luxury catamaran - Moorings A5130. They last made contact on 18 January 2015 via satellite phone at about 2190 Nautical Miles north-west of Peth, Australia. Read more on this, click HERE.

Ever since, they have never been heard of again and neither has the catamaran been found. That was until a capsized hull was spotted adrift on several occasions by ships including a Brazilian Navy ship.

Sea Rescue Agulhas crew inspecting the hull.

"NSRI Hermanus launched a sea rescue craft to stand-by in the area as back-up.

"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," the NSRI said in a statement.

"[The] 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.

"During the night NSRI Hermanus were dispatched to investigate the option of attaching a tow-line to the catamaran to pull her from shipping lanes but the effort was aborted and MRCC are tracking the casualty Catamaran until the tug Peridot arrive on the scene."

It is hoped that the positive identification of this capsized catamaran will help bring this year-long tragedy to a close.