05 dicembre 2007

Silenzio radio dal vascello fantasma

Il tre alberi Alvei, una sorta di nave-scuola impegnata anche in missioni umanitarie nel Pacifico, risulta in queste ore disperso sulla lunga rotta tra Vanuatu, da dove è partito tre settimane fa, e la Nuova Zelanda, dove avrebbe dovuto arrivare in questi giorni. I familiari di alcuni volontari a bordo hanno lanciato l'allarme ma il centro di coordinamento delle attività di rescue della Marina neozelandese non riesce a contattare il veliero, assente anche dai logbook delle stazioni costiere che avrebbero potuto contattarla in queste settimane. Alvei in pratica non ha mai parlato via radio con nessuno. Si ritiene, scrive il Sydney Morning Herald, che la nave sia equipaggiata con apparecchiature VHF e HF, ma il silenzio è completo e gli aerei del rescue non hanno ancora avvistato nulla. Sembra una storia d'altri tempi, ma a bordo ci sono nove persone e le speranze di ritrovarle si stanno affievolendo.

No sign of missing adventure ship

Arjun Ramachandran
December 5, 2007 - 5:15PM

A rescue plane will resume searching at first light for an old three-masted schooner missing in the Pacific with four Australians and five others on board.
The 28-metre square-rigged sailing ship Alvei, nearly 90 years old, left Port Vila in Vanuatu on November 13 and was due to arrive in New Zealand on December 1.
But the ship, which offers one-month passages for about $800, did not arrive and has not responded to radio calls.
The ship's website says it offers a "hands on learning experience ... We learn to be the professionals who sail and maintain the ship ourselves".
A plane operated by the New Zealand Rescue Co-ordination Centre searched today for the Alvei between Opua in New Zealand and Norfolk Island.
Tomorrow a longer range P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft that belonged to the New Zealand defence force will be used.
Radio communication attempts will continue overnight, says the RCCNZ.
Nine people were known to be aboard the former herring drifter, including four Australians, three Americans, one New Zealander and an Englishman, the rescue centre, said. They are aged between 27 and 66.
The RCCNZ said it started its search after being contacted by a "concerned relative" of one of the Australians on the ship who was due to start a new job in Australia.
The RCCNZ believe the Alvei is fitted with a VHF and HF Radio, as well as with a distress beacon that would alert authorities via satellite to the ship's location if switched on.
However, there has been no response from the Alvei or any sightings reported.
"The vessel is not known to keep regular scheduled radio communications and there is enough cause for concern to begin a search to determine her status," RCCNZ search and rescue mission co-ordinator Mike Roberts said.
Weather conditions in the Pacific had been moderate and would not concern a "fairly big sailing ship" like the Alvei, the RCCNZ said.
The RCCNZ said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority was also investigating the missing vessel, but an AMSA spokeswoman said it was not involved in the search.
The ship would not necessarily have been required to register its planned course with martime authorities, the RCCNZ spokeswoman said.
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