The seven crew on the historic boat disappeared on 4 June

There has been no sighting of the missing American schooner Nina despite seven extensive searches covering more than 615,000 square nautical miles.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) is continuing to

assess all available information in the search for schooner and missing crew, who disappeared en route from New Zealand to

Australia.

Yesterday’s radar search of more than 97,000 square nautical

miles was completed without any sighting of the vessel.

The 21m (70ft) Nina, sailing from Opua in the Bay of Islands

to Newcastle with seven people on board, has not been heard from since 4

June.

The RCCNZ has revealed the last-known communication from Nina, which it obtained from Iridium, a satellite

communications company.

The last transmission (a text message) was sent from the Nina‘s satellite phone at 1150 NZST on 04 June 2013 but never reached its intended

recipient.

Nigel Clifford, Maritime New Zealand’s general manager

for safety and response services, said the position information had been

factored into search area calculations, along with other available

information.

The undelivered text message reads:

‘THANKS STORM SAILS SHREDDED LAST NIGHT, NOW BARE POLES. GOINING 4KT 310DEG WILL UPDATE COURSE INFO @ 6PM’

Mr Clifford said: ‘The text message gives a clearer indication of the

condition of the vessel on 4 June, and the weather that was being

experienced at the time.

‘The text message clearly indicates that the Nina was affected by the storm, but gives no indication of immediate distress.

‘While it shows that Nina had

survived the storm up to that point, very poor weather continued in the

area for many hours and has been followed by other storms. The text

message, in isolation, does not indicate what might have happened

subsequently.

‘However, the text message states that Nina‘s course information would be updated in just over six hours’ time, at 6pm. 

‘There have been no further transmissions or messages from the Nina

since the undelivered text message on 4 June.

‘There were also no

distress messages from either of the two distress alerting devices on

board (EPIRB and Spot satellite personal tracker).’

RCCNZ has discussed the details of the text message

and other search information gathered to date with representatives of

the family and friends of the crew.

New Zealand’s Maritime Radio is continuing to conduct

broadcasts in New Zealand’s search and rescue region, and Rescue

Coordination Centre Australia (RCC Australia) is assisting with

broadcasts on coastal radio.


Background

There are seven people on board Nina, six Americans (three men aged 17, 28 and 58, and three women aged 18, 60 and 73) and a British man aged 35.

The crew have been named by local press as commercial captain David Dyche III, 58;

his wife, Rosemary, 60; and their son David IV, 17; their friend Evi

Nemeth, 73; Kyle Jackson, 27; Danielle Wright, 18; and Briton Matthew

Wootton, 35.

To date, the RCCNZ has coordinated seven searches, with an

RNZAF P3K2 Orion aircraft covering a combined area of more than 615,000

square nautical miles.

Two aerial shoreline searches were

conducted on 28 and 29 June but no sign has been found of the vessel

or its crew.


Nina, built in 1928,

left Opua on 29 May and was last heard from on 4 June, when the vessel

was about 370 nautical miles west-north-west of Cape Reinga.

Records

show that conditions at the vessel’s last known position were very

rough, with winds of 80kmh gusting to 110kmh and swells of up to 8m.


After concerns were raised by family and friends, the RCCNZ

instigated a communications search on 14 June, using a range of

communications methods to broadcast alerts to the vessel and others in

the area.

RCCNZ determined that the vessel should have arrived at its

intended destination by 25 June, and aerial searches were instigated

when it had not arrived by that date.