Thursday, July 18, 2013

RCCNZ and Equusearch Working on Details Pg 15

Page 1 Search Suspended

Danielle and Robin Wright

Page 2  The Story
Page 3  About the Nina
Page 4  Dyche Family Page
Page 5  Evi Nemeth
Page 6  Matt Wooton
Page 7  Kyle Jackson
Page 8  Danielle Wright
Page 9  RCCNZ 
Page 10 To the Families and Friends
Page 11  What Went Wrong
Page 12 Last Message From Nina Crew
Page 13 Family Appeals For Search Funds
Page 14 Nina Family Anxious For Search To Begin
Page 16  Third Day of Nina Search, Funds Needed
Page 17  New Zealand Responds
Page 18  Equusearch Seeks Satellite Specialist
Page 19  A New Generation of Cooperation
Page 20  Wild Speculation No Help
Page 21  Sailboat Washes Up On Beach
Page 22  Nina Fund
Page 23  Nina Makes Prime Time
Page 24  Kyle Jackson, Hiya Mom!
Page 25  U.S. Coast Guard Endangers Lives of Nina 7
Page 26  Equusearch, Nina Families, Ask For Help
Page 27  Apathy From US Officials

Page 15, RCCNZ and Equusearch working on details of search

Please see 'UPDATE" at bottom of page.

The search for the 85 year old schooner, Nina, and her crew of 7, resumed yesterday.  The first day of searching yielded no results. The second day of searching is underway.

At the helm of the private search is Texas based Equu Search (TES) which specializes in finding missing people all over the globe.  The families launched their own search after Rescue Coordination Center New Zealand (RCCNZ) halted the government funded search.  The New Zealanders proclaimed the yacht sunk, presumably by a catastrophic incident, according to Nevile Blakemoore from the RCCNZ.

Ralph Baird, Executive Advisor to TES, has a different point of view.

Ralph Baird

"The number I put on this is 70 to 80% chances, probabilities, of the crew being alive and on the ship and still navigating or drifting."  Baird said in an exclusive interview with Sailing Savoir Faire.  Some of the TES volunteers are professional statisticians who can accurately predict such things.

Before beginning a search, TES obtains background information on the missing people as well as a history of prior search efforts.  This research is a strategic link to the TES approach in searching.  In this case, the organization gathered information on the Crew of the Nina, as well as the efforts expended by RCCNZ.  The information is used to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the missing crew, decisional patterns, as well as to build a log and analyze the efforts expended by RCCNZ.

While the families of the seven missing crew members have been more than forth coming,  RCCNZ has been less than cooperative.  After the first TES request, the RCCNZ sent TES copies of their press releases. The releases detail a description of the Nina, a basic recital of RCCNZ efforts and it's final conclusions.  It does not provide adequate detail for a search.

Baird also asked how effective the radar is aboard the P3 Orions RCCNZ flies in their search grids.   Would it pick up a swamped sailboat with no mast, for example?  RCCNZ said the information was classified.

"What about off the record?"  Baird pushed.  "600,000 miles is a lot of territory to search by radar."

Sorry, the information is classified, RCCNZ responded.  Baird asked whether satellite information had been requested from the U.S. government.  After considerable questioning Baird was finally advised a request had been made through the local U.S. consul general, hardly the place to make an expedited request for satellite information.

Finally, an email arrived from RCCNZ.

"I thought finally we got some cooperation." Baird said.  He was appalled when he opened his email.

"They sent us requests for dental records.  They wanted to know what the families were going to say to the coroner.  You don't send grieving people who are hoping for news from their loved ones a request for this kind of information."  Baird said disgustedly.

Nina Search Fund

Law enforcement has learned to depend upon TES expertise and resources.

After completing research, Equuisearch located a missing New Orleans socialite.  New Orleans police had been searching for the body for six intensive days.  Frustrated, police finally called in TES.  They located the body within 90 minutes using their side scan sonar.  It took law enforcement more time to send the coroner than it did for equisearch to locate and retrieve the body of  Douglas Schantz.

"With limited tax payer dollars available for search efforts". Ralph Baird said, "we have formed an important public/private partnership with law enforcement."

A public/private partnership might be the solution New Zealand citizens have been looking for.  The small island nation conducts expensive maritime searches over an expanse of ocean 10 times the size of the country itself, far beyond their territorial waters, all at tax payer expense.  Politicians are under pressure to limit searches for foreign private yachts, or eliminate them all together.  A law was passed requiring private yachts to undergo a Category 1 safety inspection prior to departure from New Zealand but the law was struck down by a New Zealand court for violating international law.

Law enforcement in 14 U.S. states is not the only authority which has placed trust in TES.  The organization was asked to participate in the search for a Navy T-34 which went down near Matagorda Island, Texas.

Missing T-34 Located Off of Matagorda Island by TES

"They spent 22 days looking for that plane.  We found it in 45 minutes." Baird said.

TES Locational Information For Missing T-34

Baird learned underwater sonar skills while in the military. Later, he applied those skills to the oil industry. TES uses high tech tactics to solve crimes law enforcement has been unable to resolve.

When Baird asked RCCNZ for the statistical information they used in their drift analysis, he was told he could get his own information from other sources.

"I am a scientist," Baird said.  "I want to see the variables they used to come up with their drift modeling.  It could make a big difference."

Unfortunately, when TES works in new geographical areas they have to earn their reputation.  The refusal of RCCNZ to be forthcoming with details is frustrating.  If Baird's theory is correct, the crew may be in desperate straights.  Time is critical for people who are catching rain water and fishing for food.  If the crew is in a life raft they are battling hypothermia in the 34 degree water of the Tasman Sea.

New Zealand is using the dance for which maritime search organizations have become famous. RCCNZ now insists Baird go through the U.S. State Department for information.  The U.S. State Department says New Zealand is in charge of the search.  International law requires Baird talk to RCCNZ.  It is outrageous the U.S. State Department and RCCNZ have forgotten what the names on the crew list represent:  Real people with anxious families, and the Lives of 7 sailors are at stake.

"Good things are going to come out of this," Baird said.  "We look at this from a long term point of view.  We are going to bring these sailors home safely and there is going to be a very embarrassed government.  After that, we hope for better communication, better access to information for sailors.  This is a process."

Our editorial opinion?  The U.S. State Department owes American sailors more than a "talk to that guy over there".  Their actions are nothing short of disgraceful.  The New Zealand people have been looking for a fresh approach to the costly process of searching for private yachts.  Rather than viewing this as an invasion of territorial rights, both the New Zealand government and the people have nothing to lose and everything to gain by working with TES.

This is not the first time RCCNZ has been forced to choose between spending scarce resources on a an extended search to save lives.  Sailors have shown up more than once after RCCNZ threw in the towel.

A second part of the TES equation is to help raise funds for the search.  Once the organization starts, it does not like to stop until people are found.  TES is still short funds since the area to be searched is the size of the Gulf of Mexico.  Worse, a sailboat is not static.  It moves.  The searching of one area is no guarantee the boat won't drift into the searched area later.  A search for missing sailors is a little like digging sand out of a hole.  While the families and well wishers have made significant contributions, additional sums are needed.

Baird said the funds will be put to good use with lasting results.

"A donation to the Nina search is a good investment.  In addition to bringing people home, we are forging changes in how the search for sailors is conducted.  We are teaching young people the value of using science and technology.  We think we are going to save some lives."

Help us help the families by 
making a donation today:
Texas EquuSearch SV Nina Search Fund
P.O. Box 395

DickinsonTexas 77539

Office: (281) 309-9500

Fax: (281) 534-6719

Toll Free: (877) 270-9500

Or, mail checks directly to:
Texas EquuSearch SV Nina Search Fund
c/o Amegy Bank
215 FM 517 Road West

DickinsonTX 77539

Attention: Ms. Alicia White

(281) 337-9390

TES Nina Donation Letter

For NINA Search Fund Paypal or Credit Card Gifts


RCC-NZ and the executive advisor to Equusearch have had a face to face conversation about how to work with each other.  During a difficult time for New Zealand, with earth quakes terrorizing the people, RCC-NZ has bent over backwards to help Equusearch in their efforts.


1 comment:

  1. Yes, it is difficult in NZ right now, but even in the best of times the RCCNZ has a history of premature search terminations and of being accused of looking in the wrong locations. Prior trouble with steel hulled yachts makes things even worse for the Nina which is wood sheathed in fiberglass and has hollow masts. Steel hulled yachts have good radar and thermal signatures and yet RCCNZ seems to have trouble with searches for them.

    USA is often less than helpful in the area and Google has helped in the past with satellite information and advice but only after RCCNZ suspended the search.


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