The 85-year-old schooner has disappeared with seven people on board

A historic American schooner has gone missing while sailing from New Zealand to Australia prompting ‘grave concerns’ for the crew.

The 70ft (21m) vessel called Nina left Opua in the Bay of Islands on 29 May and has not
been heard from since 4 June, when it was about 370 nautical
miles west-north-west of Cape Reinga.

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

The vessel, which was built in 1928 and was en route for Newcastle, Australia, is equipped with satellite phone, a spot
device which allows regular tracking signals to be sent manually, and an
emergency beacon.

The emergency beacon has not been activated.

After concerns were raised by family and friends, the
Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (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.

No sign of Nina has been reported by any other vessel in the area since 4 June.

RCCNZ search and rescue mission coordinator Kevin Banaghan said a RNZAF P3 Orion had completed two extensive searches.

On 25 June, a search area of 160,000 square nautical
miles was covered, to the immediate north-north-east of New Zealand,
based on the vessel being disabled and drifting.

Yesterday, 26 June, a search was completed of 324,000
square nautical miles between northern New Zealand and the Australian
coast, based on the vessel suffering damage but continuing to make
progress towards Australia.

Banaghan said: ‘Unfortunately, no sign of the vessel has been found.

‘Our records show that conditions at the last known
position for the vessel, on 4 June, were very rough, with winds of
80kmh, gusting to 110kmh, and swells of up to 8m.

‘We do hold grave
concerns for the Nina and her crew but remain hopeful of a positive outcome.’

RCCNZ is liaising with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), and will continue to review search options.