Norwegian sailboat “Berserk” missing in Antarctica – search is officially ended

by


The Norwegian sailboat “Berserk” sent out a distress call from the Ross Sea in the Antarctic on tuesday, february 22. at 05:20. After a short while the signal stopped, and nothing has beeen heard or seen of the “Berserk” since. At the time, one of the worst hurricane storms for years with winds up to 60 knots and waves 6-8 meters was sweeping the area. The boat with a crew of three is now considered lost, but a land party of two who tried to reach the South Pole on ATV’s, managed to make it to McMurdo Sound base and were flown to safety.

01.03. – Search is officially ended
NRK – original article here
New Zealand Rescue Central tells the NRK that the search is officially ended.

28.02. -Jarle Andhøy dismisses critics: “We have done our job”
NRK.no reports- original article here
The land party from the “Berserk”, Jarle Andhøy and Samuel Massie, arrive in Christchurch by airplane from McMurdo Sound. New Zealand and Norwegian Polar Institutes question the legality of the mission, others question the safety. Jarle Andhøy expresses shock and disbelief that the boat could have sunk, and dismisses claims of negligence of laws and security measures.

“The cackling choir kan scream all they want. We have done our job 110 percent. Nature is nature, the sea gives and the sea takes, and that is something all the boys on board know very well,” Andhøy says.

The Sea Sheperd vessel the «Steve Irwin» concluded their search for the three missing crew sunday, and thinks the crew must have sunk to the bottom of the sea together with the yacht. “These boys were adventurers who knew the risk of going into the Antarctic. When it is your turn to lay down your staff, there is no more beautiful place than here in the Antarctic, quartermaster Howie Cooke on The Steve Irwin told the NRK.

27.02. –  The “Steve Irwin” is now out of the search.
NRK – original article here

26.02. –  The “Steve Irwin” leaves Franklin Island, but continues search
NRK saturday morning, original article here

The “Steve Irwin” is now headed towards the Australian island of Tasmania, but it will search along the Antarctic coast, north of the last known position of the “Berserk”, the rescue center in New Zealand reports.

“They have now finished their helicopter searches – this morning the last helicopter search was done outside of Franklin Island, one of the last meeting points agreed with the crew of the “Berserk”. Nothing has been found” NRK’s Asia correspondent Anders Magnus reports.

Franklin Island was the last one of four meeting points agreed for the “Berserk” crew, and were investigated after “Berserk” captain Jarle Andhøy told rescuers of the meeting points.

Andhøy and Massie arrived at the McMurdo base friday morning around 07:00 Norwegian time, and are waiting to be flown out.

The crew of the “Steve Irwin” have now put their helicopter away after 18 hours of searching. Two other cruiseships sailing through the area will also continue the search.
“Detailed searching is now scaled down, and even if the New Zealand Rescue Central say that they will not give up until all hope is lost, it is seems to be clear now that the boat might have sunk” Magnus reports.

Mike Roberts, who leads the Maritime Rescue Central on New Zealand confirms that there will be no more helicopter searches on account of the pilot being exhausted.

“We will contine searching for a few days. The only hope of finding survivors is if the boat is still floating. If you fall in the sea, even wearing a survival suit, you cannot survive more than two hours in the water, which holds 2 minus, Roberts say.

The Russian scientific vessel, the «Professor Kromov», which helped earlier in the search, will also participate in further searches while it is in the area. The “Preofessor Kromov” was criticized by the crew of the “Steve Irwin” yesterday, who felt they had gotten very little support in the search.

“We have exhausted all options”
Sea Sheperd make it clear in a press release that the search is not over, and that captain Paul Watson intends to continue the search until they are asked to stop by the  Maritime Rescue Center in New Zealand.

“We have exhausted all options. Our search has been very thorough, and we have searched the whole area from the McMurdo sound to the Franklin Island three times” Paul Watson says in a press release.

There is still a possibility the “Berserk” could have drifted north, something Sea Shepherd wans to investigate. Watson is quite shure, though that his crew has found what is to be found. In Watsons estimate, his crew has done a fine combed search of an area of about 4000 square kilometers.

25.02. – The search continues
VG, friday 15:02 Norwegian time, original article here
“The “Steve Irwin” is on it’s way out into the Ross Sea to search two of four contact points where the crew of the “Berserk” had agreed to meet”, Geir Mortensen at Hovedredningssentralen in Norway tells VG Nett. Mortensen says they have regular contact with the rescue central on New Zealand. The latest information says the “Steve Irwin” is headed north to continue the search.
“They are to continue towards Franklin Island in the Ross Sea, one of four contact points for the “Berserk”. On their way there, they will also search Beaufort Bay, also one of the contact points.”

Friday noon:
Paddle oar believed to be from the “Berserk” found

NRK reports, original article here

“We’ve just stopped the boat to retrieve items that may be from the “Berserk”‘s life raft, says swedish crew member on the “Steve Irwin”, Luz Rivas. The items found are a paddle oar, 12 water bottles and several other plastic items that have yet to be identified. She denies they are wreckage from the “Berserk” itself. “We have not found any indication that the boat has gone down, but at the moment, it looks pretty hopeless.”

The «Steve Irwin» is now the only ship still searching for the Norwegian sailboat “Berserk” which has been missing since a distress signal was triggered from the boat tuesday morning.
According to the New Zealand rescue central, the other ship participating in the search, the “Professor Kromov”, was relieved of it’s duties last night.

“We are still hoping to find the three missing persons, but hope fades as time passes without results, spokesman Nick Churchhouse says. In his estimate, the finding of the empty life raft is a bad sign. “If the raft was torn off in the storm, that could mean the crew had no other way out if the boat went down. You can draw your own conclusions from that.”

Friday morning:
Life raft from the “Berserk” found

A liferaft confirmed to be from the Berserk was found at 09:AM local time friday by the helicopter from the “Steve Irwin” – New Zealand Herald reports:

New Zealand Herald 5:33 PM Friday Feb 25, 2011 Original article here

An empty and damaged liferaft found in the Southern Ocean off Antarctica early today has been confirmed as belonging to the missing Norwegian yacht Berserk. The liferaft was found about 9am by a helicopter from the Sea Shepherd Conservation ship Steve Irwin, which had been searching for most of yesterday and for several hours today. Paul Watson, the skipper of Steve Irwin ordered a seaboat launched to recover the liferaft. The liferaft, the same make as that carried on the Berserk, had a torn canopy and was missing its first aid kit and survival knife.

The National Rescue Coordination Centre in Wellington said there was no sign the liferaft had been occupied and it may have floated free from the vessel and not been released manually. Berserk landed its skipper Jarle Andhøy on the ice with another crew member as part of an expedition to the South Pole. Mr Andhoey confirmed to the rescue centre the liferaft was from Berserk. The Steve Irwin and a helicopter continued to search the area but no further trace of the missing vessel or the men had been found.

The water temperature was about minus 12degC, meaning survival was only a few minutes.

– NZPA

Friday morning: Life raft from the “Berserk” found
The Herald Sun

Friday morning, a raft was found by a helicopter from the “Steve Irwin”. Paul Watson, captain of the “Steve Irwin told the Herald Sun the Berserk had most likely sunk. “We will continue searching but the boat and debris would not have drifted further north than this raft,” he said. “In my opinion, the conditions at the time of the distress call presented some very serious threats to such a small vessel.” The weather in the area tuesday was extremely bad, with hurricane winds up to 80 knots. Waves as high as 8 meters were reported. The water temperature would have been about minus 12degC according to the Herald Sun, meaning survival would only have been a few minutes.

Watson on the possibility of survival:
The New Zealand TV channel TVNZ has more from Watson and the rescue crew:
Original article here

(Watson) ” ..said conditions were so bad, spray was freezing in the air as his ship ploughed into the heavy seas. The missing yacht had a liferaft on board but Watson said whatever occurred must have been very fast. “They didn’t manually call or put out a distress signal. It was an automatic distress signal from an EPIRB (emergency beacon) that got detached and was activated by the water. Usually that doesn’t happen unless the boat sinks or is turned over.”

The yacht had dropped two crew members off on the ice to trek to the South Pole. Watson said the duo had given him a idea of Berserk’s position but a search of about 90 percent of the area had found nothing.

“If the vessel is floating we should have found it. All I can think of is that it got holed by ice and went down. He said he had seen “pop up growler” icebergs. “You don’t even see them and they just pop up like a cork. They are solid blue ice and can do some serious damage.”

The search began after the yacht’s emergency beacon sent out a signal on Tuesday afternoon. It stopped transmitting after several hours. The two crew members on the ice are safe and well but still a day or two from McMurdo base.

Thursday noon:
Lifeboat found, turns out to be from the “Wellington”
The weather in the area is now good, and Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd has had a helicopter in the air the whole day.

“The sun is shining, unlike yesterday, which had a terrible storm, causing the New Zealand military vessel “Wellington” to abort and turn back. Yesterday we found a lifeboat that for a while was thought to be from the “Berserk”, but turned out to be one of three lifeboats the “Wellington” lost in the storm”, Watson says. The “Steve Irwin” will continue their search for at least another six hours.

The area has now been thoroughly searched by helicopter, and further searches will continue further north where the boat might have drifted.

The missing crew of the “Berserk” are:
Tom Gisle Bellika (36), Norway, presumed to be in charge in captain Andhøy’s absence
Robert Skaanes (34), Norway
Leonard J. Banks (32), South Africa

According to Andhøy, Bellika had extensive experience with rough weather and the “Berserk” in particular, having joined Andhøy on two previous missions. Andhøy is concerned about hearing nothing from the crew on the boat for days, but is an optimist and thinks they might have sailed out to sea to be safer in the storm, according to this NRK article. “I have told the rescue central that Gisle (Tom Gisle Bellika) likes to go out towards open sea when there’s high wind and he has trouble. I hope this can be of help for the people searching for the “Berserk”, the captain told NRK.

Thursday morning at 8:40 Norwegian time:
Land party are alive and well

The land party consisting of captain Jarle Andhøy (33) and Samuel Massie (18) have used satelite phones to tell the world they are alright. Using ATV’s, they have reached the South Pole and are now heading back to meet the boat, which they did not know was missing. They expect to reach the coast in three to four days. The three people in the sailboat “Berserk” have still not made contact since their distress signal was triggered early tuesday morning. The weather has calmed down a bit, and two ships and a helicopter have been searching for the “Berserk” reports Nick Churchouse at Maritime New Zealand at about o6:00 thursday morning according to VG Nett. According to Churchouse, the weather conditions in the area are now quite good, with small waves and good visibility.

The search parties will continue until 11-12:00 before evaluating what to do next.

Nuno Ramos, who works on the vessel “Steve Irwin” confirms that so far, nothing has been seen of the “Berserk”. “But the “Steve Irwin” and the “Professor Kromov” and helicopters are still searching” he told VG Nett thursday morning. VG Nett quotes Captain Paul Watson of the “Steve Irwin” as saying “If they are in the water, they are in trouble”. Captain Andhøy of the “Berserk” have been in contact with the rescue central and given information as to where the “Berserk” was likely to be, which was in the same area where the searches have been carried out. “We will continue to focus on this area in our further searches”, Ross Henderson at the New Zealand rescue central reported at 03:30 thursday morning

Wednesday:
Search vessels are on the way

‎From Wild Vikings Facebook site, as reported by Marit Sumarvald earlier wednesday morning:
09.23 : Wind down to 20 knots. Searches are expected to commence today.  Sea Shepherd vessel (The Steve Irwin) is on it’s way to the area. They are carrying a helicopter. The vessel is expected to reach the area in 12-14 hours, but the helicopter can start ahead with the search a bit earlier.

Wednesday, addtional update from Marit Sumarvald:
11.20 Still hopes of helicopter search this evening or tonight. Two boats are in the “area”, but distances large. One Russian and one American ship. Rescue vessels from NZ had to re-tank. Calmer winds now. The distress signal was sent from inside the bay. Hope that was their rescue!

According to Ocean News Explorers Web, the Russian vessel is the “Professor Kromov”.

Marit Sumarvald:
Status kl 12.55 : Winds are getting stronger. Nearest boat will arrive at the earliest in eight hours because of weather conditions. This ship has a helicopter on board! Dette skipet har helikopter om bord!

(The boat mentioned is the Steve Irwin, flag ship of Sea Shepherd, which carries on board a helicopter.)

Marit Sumarvald:
Status 16.20: The boat is getting closer. Weather conditions still too poor to fly. New weather prognosis expected within two hours. So far reports say the weather is getting better. In that case, the helicopter can fly into the area before the boat gets there.

NRK reports on the distress call apparatus:

“Distress calls rarely stop after such a short time.” According to Tore Hongset at Hovedredningssentralen (the rescue central in Norway), the “Berserk” is equipped with a distress call unit and two satelite phones. The distress call apparatus can be triggered manually by the crew, or it can go off automatically if the boat is covered with water.

It is not known if the distress call was triggered automatically or manually. The distress signal is picked up by satelite and then transmitted to rescue centrals in the area.

According to the Norwegian rescue central, an apparatus like this can transmit it’s signals for two to three days before the battery runs out. The signal from the Berserk stopped after about an hour.

“Only rarely does a signal like this stop after such a short interval”, Hongset says and adds that there could be several reasons for the signal to have stopped.
“The crew may have turned it off, the satelites could have problems picking up the signal, or the battery may have run out. But at this point, we know very little of what might have happened.

The “Berserk”  is a 48ft (14m) steel hulled sailboat led by captain Jarle Andhøy who has produced several reality TV-series from his sailboat expeditions. He has led different crews of “wild vikings” towards the North Pole, around the Kola peninsula and through the Northwest Passage, often surrounded by controversy.

Their current mission in the Antarctic was to follow in the footsteps of Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen, and according to NRK wednesday, two of the crew has left the boat and the three remaining crew in the boat sent out the distress signals at 05:20 yesterday before radio contact was lost. It is now confirmed that the land party was captain Jarle Andhøy (33)  and Samuel Massie (18). They have now been in touch with the rescue centrals and are doing fine, expecting to reach the coast on their ATV’s in three to four days.

Rescue crews on New Zealand are ready with airplanes and helicopters to join the search for the “Berserk”, NRK reports wednesday morning. A New Zealand marine vessel in the area had to abort it’s search and turn back because of the bad weather, which has remained unchanged since wednesday morning.

“The weather is very bad and changing, with high waves (up to eight meters) and poor visibility”, rescue leader Øyvind Aadden reports to the NRK wednesday morning.

According to the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand, the “Berserk” was 18 nautical miles (33 km) north of the Scott-base when they sent out the distress call at 5:20 tuesday morning.

Until it was safe to go into the Ross Sea with boats, rescuers were collaborating with bases in Antarctica to see if it was possible to start searching with airplanes.

Jonas Qvale, Friday, February 25. at 08:40 PM

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Responses to “Norwegian sailboat “Berserk” missing in Antarctica – search is officially ended”

  1. Jessie Doggie Says:

    thanks Sea Shepherd great job

  2. Allison Says:

    I am so sorry for the family that still has the missing men. I watched whale wars and as soon as it ended I googled it… I cried after whale wars. Thank you so much Steve Irwin… You make such a difference in the whales life, and now, the families lives of the missing men. Good luck. :)

  3. Eenk Hendri Says:

    .if u are robert where were i know u in bali,iam just know about u,iam so sorry brother i know from my friend couse my friend know with u rfriends iam so sad here about this brother,,iam still rimember when u was teach me how to do kapuere dance,and we play skimboarth togeteher at kuta beach,its was fun brother,anyway nice to be u friend my brother,u r nice guy,if u really already gone,hope u going heaven soon,amin

  4. Heath Eisentrager Says:

    The Berserk filmed a tv episode on the boat I deck handed in the Bering Sea several years ago. All I know is that the captain was an incredibly brave man and a hell of a sailor. Soory they’re gone, but what a fitting grave for world class adventurers! The rest of us can only hope for such an end in my opinion. RIP

  5. annamarie123 Says:

    Reblogged this on We talk about forever, when we've only got today. and commented:
    Knew them well
    R.I.P Tom, Robert, and Leonard.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: