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Russian yacht goes missing in Antarctic

France,Crime/Disaster/Accident, Sat, 07 Apr 2012 IANS

Moscow, April 7 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A world-record breaking yacht with a crew of four Russians and four Ukrainians on board has gone missing off the Antarctic coast while performing a polar circumnavigation voyage, an expedition spokesperson said.


Navigation officers have failed to establish contact with the Scorpius yacht for several days.


The Scorpius left the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in September last year for a voyage around the South and the North Pole. On April 3, after visiting the Ukrainian Academic Vernadsky polar station, the yacht cast anchor near the US Palmer research station on Anvers Island as the strong winds in the area made its further journey dangerous, the report said.


Before contact was lost, the crew had reported that they were going to sail towards the South Shetland archipelago, around 120 km north of the Antarctic Peninsula, where "one of the safest natural harbors" is located at Deception Island.


"According to ship navigation rules, they should send an SOS signal so that we could launch a search operation," expedition spokeswoman Anna Subbotina said. "As they have not sent the signal, there is hope that they have managed to cope with the situation on their own," she said.


She said strong wind may have damaged the antenna of the yacht's satellite navigation system, which has already happened in the past.


The Scorpius's crew intends to cover over 110,000 km during their 2.5-year expedition, expected to become the farthest and longest circumnavigation voyage ever conducted.


They have already broken several world shipping records during the voyage, including the farthest journey into the Ross Sea in the Antarctic.


The voyage is expected to be concluded in early 2014.


--IANS/RIA Novosti




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