This report from a professional on the site explains the whole sad story:
Three die in 'Viking' yacht off Antarctica
MICHAEL FIELD Last updated 05:00 27/02/2011
A foolhardy voyage to Antarctica by a group of self-proclaimed Vikings has cost three lives while forcing a New Zealand navy
ship and its 55 crew into savage seas, damaging the new vessel.
Berserk, a Norway-flagged 45m-long steel
yacht with three men
aboard, disappeared on Tuesday, in McMurdo Sound, 33km north of Scott Base.
Yesterday it was confirmed that an empty liferaft
, found by the Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin
, was from Berserk. There was also debris but no sign of the missing men
Berserk had dropped two other men, with quad bikes bought in Auckland
, on the ice. Last night they were trapped on the Ross Ice Shelf, trying to reach Scott Base, before the sea ice, which is breaking up, separates from Ross Island.
mariner who saw Berserk in the Viaduct said the boat had been made unseaworthy by its heavy cargo, including the quad bikes lashed to the deck
After Berserk's emergency
beacon sent a Mayday signal, ice-strengthened patrol vessel HMNZS Wellington, commissioned last year and in McMurdo Sound, was dispatched.
"As we responded, we were stuck in the most intense storm I have ever encountered in 19 years in the navy
," skipper Lieutenant Commander Simon Griffith told the Sunday Star-Times yesterday from inside the Antarctic Circle, enroute for Dunedin and a Thursday docking
force winds up to 182km/h "exploded off the Ross Ice Shelf" and sharp swells of 8m slammed into HMNZS Wellington.
Spray turned to thick ice on the decks. Aerials, lighting
and speakers were swept away. Griffith ruefully noted they even lost
their stern light.
Liferafts were ripped off. "We still have enough on board to keep us safe," he says. In the midst of it, Griffith got word of the Christchurch earthquake; he kept it to himself for 12 hours.
Wellington made it into the lee of Mt Erebus but once they entered McMurdo Sound they got slammed again.
"They were the biggest seas I have ever come across, but it was pretty obvious the ship was up for it." Nothing of Berserk was found.
On Monday they had met Berserk at Back Door Bay, where Shackleton's Hut stands.
"They gave us a call and asked us for a packet of cigarettes. We did not have any, but we gave them a cigar," says Griffith. The yacht was warned severe weather
"The yacht seemed a very sturdy, oceangoing yacht and they were three cheerful Norwegians."
Berserk leader Jarle Andhoy, 34, and Samuel Massie Ulvolden, 18, were attempting to reach the South Pole to mark the centenary of Norwegian Roald Amundsen's South Pole expedition.
The three left on the yacht were Robert Skaane, 34, Tom Gisle Bellika, 36, and South African Leonard Banks, 32.
Andhoy, a television celebrity in Norway, was fined recently for "trying to talk to the polar bears".
Canadian authorities arrested him on suspicion of being a member
of the Hell's Angels and deported him.
Berserk needed to get permission from the Norwegian Polar Institute to sail below 60 degrees south.
Official Jan-Gunnar Winther confirmed they did not have permission.
Scott Base manager Troy Beaumont said the storm which hit Berserk and Wellington was "a bit of a doozy".
"There are a whole lot of treaties down here and they have managed to violate every one of them," he added.
Antarctic New Zealand CEO Lou Sanson told Radio
New Zealand the two men on the ice shelf were stuck amidst crevasses in a whiteout with minus 20C temperatures.
"Why you would want to drive a motorbike to the South Pole at this time of year is completely beyond us.
"It just seems all the safety
principles operating in Antarctica have been broken."
skipper Kevin Peat saw Berserk at the Viaduct.
"They had all the stuff sitting on the dock
and we thought there was no way they could get it onto the boat, but, over a two week period they slowly, but surely, lifted the gear
into the boat," Peat said.
"We thought it was a joke, no way you would go with all that gear
out it onto the ocean, certainly not the Southern Ocean."
It included 44 gallon drums of fuel
lashed to the deck, along with quad bikes.
One bike was lashed over the engine
Berserk was structurally sound but all the weight would have compromised its righting moment, meaning the boat would be vulnerable to capsize
He said it would have cleared Customs
but as a foreign flagged vessel, it could not be prevented from sailing, even though it was unsafe.