Published on Australian Maritime Safety Authority (

Rescue operation for solo yachtsman near Tasmania continues

Saturday 19 January 2013

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is coordinating a rescue operation for a solo yachtsman who has abandoned his vessel and is in a life raft south west of Tasmania, now into its second day.

Media Release

The solo sailor’s yacht was de-masted and suffered hull damage in rough weather conditions during his round the world journey.

Earlier today, AMSA’s Dornier made contact with the sailor, who did not report any injuries. Up to three more aircraft will be used in today’s operations with the focus on maintaining communications with the sailor.

The aircraft will also attempt to raise communications with vessels that are located 100 nautical miles to the west of the life raft. AMSA believes the crews on board these vessels do not speak English and as such have been using the services of translators to assist in issuing broadcasts and messages.

Some of the aircraft due on scene this afternoon will also have translators on board, including a French speaking officer who will assist in communicating with the French native sailor.

A cruise ship, Orion, has started making its way towards the life raft’s position and is due to arrive tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon. Aircraft will remain in the area until a vessel is able to assist.

The location is too distant for a helicopter to rescue the sailor. In yesterday’s task, the Dornier dropped a second life raft and communications equipment.

An associate of the sailor contacted AMSA early on Friday morning after the yacht had been de-masted. After making contact with the sailor, who did not declare he was in distress at the time, AMSA advised him to head towards Hobart.

At approximately 1:00pm AEDT that afternoon, AMSA detected an emergency beacon activation from the sailor 500 nautical miles south west of Hobart.

AMSA believes the experienced sailor has been at sea for several months.

Further updates will be provided when more information is available.