Friday, May 22, 2009

New Zealand 'Ghost Ship' Floats Into Queensland Waters

New Zealand's "ghost ship" - an 8m yacht called Air Apparent that just kept on sailing - has arrived in Queensland 14 months after it was abandoned. It was abandoned on March 25, 2008 off the north coast of New Zealand when the crew reportedly "mutinied" and set off a distress beacon. It has finally been recovered by fishermen from Bowen, Queensland, 1400km away. The crew set off an emergency position indicating radio beacon - reportedly against the wishes of skipper and owner Bill Heritage - after the boat's battery died in 3m seas and 55km/h winds.The skipper and his three crew were all taken off the boat by a Northland rescue helicopter. On May 27 last year the Air Apparent was found drifting with its mast intact and its sail dragging in the water about 400km off New Zealand's North Cape. In October it was seen near Norfolk Island by a French naval ship, whose captain said it was like a "ghost ship". Mr Heritage said the boat was "rather the worse for wear".

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