Missing SA yacht spotted off Mozambique

2012-04-16 14:48

Johannesburg - A South African yacht with seven people on board which went missing over the weekend was spotted off the northern Mozambican coast on Monday, according to reports.

Eyewitness News
reported the yacht was seen off the coast of Pemba by a plane belonging to the European Union’s anti-piracy force.

Yacht owner Roger Hartley said it appeared the Dandelion's crew and seven passengers, including two locals, were safe and well.

Hartley believed the boat was never in danger. Responding to concerns that they had fallen prey to pirates, he told Eyewitness News that pirates were usually active north of Tanzania.

The yacht went missing on a cruise between the island Mayotte in the Indian Ocean and Pemba in northern Mozambique, Beeld newspaper reported on Monday.

The captain of the yacht is John Sergel, a South African from Durban, and his co-skipper is Izabella Moallic, a French citizen.

Also on the cruise were Gianvieve Mancuso, an American, and her German husband Alexander Weyhe, British passport holder Jason Morenikeji, South African Frank Joubert, and Dutch citizen Jasper van Straaten.

Hartley reportedly told Beeld that because of the different nationalities of the passengers, authorities from several countries had been drawn into the search.

Radio contact was last made at about 18:00 on Tuesday last week, when the group notified Mayotte port authorities that they had reached open water.

  • Rashida - 2012-04-16 14:53

    thank goodness they are safe

      Paul - 2012-04-16 16:51

      What's with all the 'Thumbs Down' from so many people? If this happens to you, I hope people won't also be such JERKS!

      vaughanh2 - 2012-04-16 18:22

      sounds like a swingers party that rocked the boat a little off course

  • David - 2012-04-16 15:07

    Great news.

  • Vuyo - 2012-04-16 15:19

    Siyabonga Baba.

  • Rob - 2012-04-16 15:41

    Happy ending. Good.

  • Cris - 2012-04-16 15:47

    How come they went off the Radar. Let's hope they are not up to some smuggling activity out there.

      Jamie - 2012-04-16 18:41

      Not a nice comment Chris - I know these people personally from our home town in Pemba

  • Piet - 2012-04-16 16:01

    Good news for a change....

  • Kala - 2012-04-16 16:08

    One wonders why they never answered their radios...

      JohnnoBfree - 2012-04-16 16:27

      Kala, a VHF radio only has about a 25km range and I am not sure if the yacht has a SSB radio onboard (most do these days) which has a much further range. More than likely it was off as they did not know that they had gone missing. Northern Moz is beautiful and I intend going back there soon to do charters. Do come visit.

      Kala - 2012-04-16 16:44

      Thanks for the invite JohnnoBfree. I would love to do some diving in that part of the world. How do I contact you? I don't know terribly much about boats / yachts but I would have though if it was a commercial charter then you would have to have something more suitable than just VHF.

  • bnnyoni - 2012-04-16 16:17

    run home fast before falling Prey to Pirates

  • JohnnoBfree - 2012-04-16 16:20

    After spending over a year in the area with many hours spent at sea, and never seeing or hearing about pirates I thought everybody was jumping the gun. Yachting is a leisure activity and there is never really a need to hurry. Pemba and surrounds are stunningly beautiful, have amazing friendly locals and VERY little crime, the area is well worth the visit. Go check it out yourselves.

  • Bertha Nengovhela - 2012-04-16 16:52

      Rob - 2012-04-16 16:58


      Bertha Nengovhela - 2012-04-16 19:15

      Lacrimose - 2012-04-16 19:55

      @Rob - I think Bertha has no words - or a heavy-hand on the spacebar - or she is writing in invisible ink :)

      Bob - 2012-04-16 20:59

      Hell Bertha I agree! It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, rather than saying something, thereby removing all doubt!

      Bryan - 2012-04-17 00:30

      Hey Bertha, did someone steel your keyboard.

      Zing - 2012-04-17 08:55


  • Jamie - 2012-04-16 18:43

    Good stuff! Am sure going to Grande Big Festa Beber tonight!

  • Bryan - 2012-04-17 00:26

    ALthough piracy is a risk factor and will still be so for a while yet, it is important to recognize that for every pirated yacht anually more than 10000 people die tragically in this country alone. Ocean going "yachties" rarely express their concerns for piracy as they are well prepared with intelligence on hot spots and rarely enter these areas. I have safely guided cruising yachts all over the world with intel and weather routing for more than six years acting as their shore based contacts. None of the skippers or crews have expressed any seriuos concerns about it and rely on me to keep them up to date daily on potential sightings and instructons. There have been 6 trips across the Indian ocean without incident. Yachts are not generally targeted by pirates along the East African coast as they seek out high value targets in the form of fishing vessels and merchant ships. The risk however is still there for cruisers and they all know the risks. In the last few months the Seychelles government prevented any cruising yachts from leaving their ports without an armed escort. This was more of a preventative measure which for those involved was not pleasant as it involved huge expense with 2 armed personnel on board or a support escort vessel for several hundred miles. Armed ascorts cost about US$40000 and many cruisers can't afford it so they stay away. Safe sailing everyone.

      Paul - 2012-04-17 14:56

      Well put "Captain Brian" always keep the sun on your back!

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