Tuesday, July 30, 2013

US Coast Guard Endangers Lives Of Nina 7 Page 25

Crew Fighting For Survival While Washington Drags It's Feet

  A phone call from you could save lives!

The United States Coast Guard, an organization with a sterling reputation for saving lives on the high seas, may be directly responsible for taking the 7 lives of the crew from the missing yacht Nina, which disappeared June 4th, 2013 in the Tasman Sea.  So says representatives from Equusearch, a non-profit organization which specializes in finding missing people the police, and sometimes even the military, are unable to locate.  Equusearch has become an advisor to the families of the missing crew after Rescue Coordination Center, New Zealand (RCCNZ)suspended search efforts.

At the heart of the hullabaloo is data which RCC-NZ
sent Equusearch. The data provides drift modeling, which is a way of following the predicted path of a disabled yacht or life raft from a known point. Equusearch wants to run various scenarios from the last known position of the Nina. They need this information in order to task satellites to take detailed photos of the most likely search area at a cost exceeding the value of the average single family residence in America for each small area photographed.

It takes specialized software called SAROPS to run the drift models for the data sent by New Zealand.  The US Coast Guard has the software to run models, but they refuse to get involved.  They say the U.S. State Department of Crisis Management, charged with bringing Americans home who die overseas, is the place the families need to be.  The office of Crisis Management has nothing to do with using assets in the US to find live people.  Likewise, they do not control the U.S. Coast Guard, at least we hope not.

“I used a bottom-up approach,” Baird said in exclusive communications with Sailing Savoir Faire reporter Tim Paynter. “I started with a contact with the Coast Guard who we had worked with during one of our searches. I ended up in Washington D.C. and top officials from the U.S. Search and Rescue.”

After days of calling and multiple transfers and referrals to new numbers, Baird ended up at the U.S. State Department.  
Family member, Ricky Wright, whose daughter Danielle, is a crew member on the Nina, has taken an active role in financing and coordinating the search.  Wright called the Office of Crisis Management.  He spoke to duty officer Jack Frost on two occasions.  He was told approval of the New Zealand State Department was required to use the US SAROPS program.  The New Zealand government says that kind of authorization is no small chore and it will take a wheel barrow of time. The Nina crew may not have that much time.

The matter then ended up on the desk of Ms. McFadyen, Department of Crisis Management.

Ralph Baird Letter:

Ms. McFadyen,

I have tried to reach you on the telephone and you are in-between phones and offices; moving. I am an advisor assisting the five (5) families of those six (6) Americans and one (1) brit onboard the schooner Nina, lost and adrift in the waters of the Tasman Sea...The RCCNZ FTP transferred their NC binary files that are compactable (sic) with the USCG SAROPS software program that every district office has here in the US.

Help. We have an oceanographer, a meteorologist and a NASA design engineer along with a retire Hewlett Packard professional and an ex-BP geo-professional anxious to get to work.

Thank you for your help,
Ralph Baird

 Wright argues, the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Center would not have sent drift modeling data for the missing Nina if they did not grant approval to run the SAROPS program that created the data.  Baird said RCC-NZ approved his use of the data and the program on any platform that was willing to accept the task, including the U.S. Coast Guard. McFadyen doesn't seem to care.

Sailing Savoir Faire sent urgent messages to the State Department Office of Crisis Management.  They referred us to Elizabeth A. Finan, Public Affairs Officer, Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State

"The Nina has not been heard from since the beginning of June.  The official search by the Government of New Zealand and the Government of Australia was called off on July 5.  We understand the families of the crewmembers (sic) are conducting private searches for the vessel.  The U.S. government has provided additional information to the search efforts, and consular officers from the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland have been in close contact with the families to provide information and consular assistance."

Ms. Finan appears to have concluded the Nina 7 have passed away simply because RCC-NZ closed it's case.  Ms. Finan did not express what her sailing expertise or search and rescue expertise is that gives her the foundation to make that call.  Nor did she talk about her ability to read reading crystal balls.  The RCC-NZ, while making a college try, have been wrong when calling off searches before  Some declared lost sailors eventually washed up on New Zealand shores.

The following is the kind of red tape that makes citizens boil:
From the Office of Consular Affairs, Crisis Center:


I appreciate your concern for the individuals on board the Nina, and I am sorry I did not answer your emails sooner.  I assure you that the Department of State has no higher priority than the protection of U.S. citizens overseas, and our consular officers have been monitoring the search efforts and have been in contact with the families since early June.  However, I have no further information for you regarding the search efforts. Sincerely,


Sailing Savoir Faire did not ask Ms. Finan anything about the search efforts.  We get our information from the source.  What we asked Mrs. Finan about is why the office of Crisis Management which deals only with over-seas matters, has anything to do with a request for one hour of time from the U.S. Coast Guard to run a computer model IN THE U.S.

Meanwhile, Equusearch believes 7 people drifting on the Nina, with no motor and no sails, are making more important decisions. Water and food must be critical by now. The survival of the crew depends upon a level headed captain until heads and egos can be leveled in U.S. Government officials.

Equusearch asks the public to participate in encouraging wise use of public resources.

“The modeling we are asking for can be run in a few minutes on my office computer, if I had the software,” Baird said. “It won't take the U.S. Coast Guard longer to run the program than it would for me to run it. We are not asking for the program, only for an hour or so of time.  We just need them to run our models.”

The search team wants you to call Officer McFadyen and ask her to help save the Nina 7. The phone number is  (202) 485.6106. They also encourage emails to McFadyen's account which is : MCFADYENLP@STATE.GOV.

“This software was developed in the U.S.,” Baird said. “The U.S. Coast Guard copy is owned by the tax payers who fund the Coast Guard. Their mission is to save sailors.”

Baird said if Equusearch cannot get the help they need, the end of the story may be written by fate.

“The Nina will wash up on New Zealand or Australian shores,” Baird said.  

In 2012, a Swan 41 called Scotch Bonnet abandoned near the last known site of the Nina washed up on Australian shores.  The yacht floated for 3 months without being seen and 5 and a half months in total.  Sailors normally keep a log recording daily events including injuries or casualties.  That record will remain with the Nina and be available for inspection when the yacht is found, whether or not the crew survive.  If the crew is not found, the log book will remain, in tragic testimony against those who could have done something and failed to act.

If Equusearch is right, and the sailors of the Nina perish because of foot dragging, the red tape of administrators will stain the bright whites of the U.S. Coast Guard which has an otherwise sterling reputation.

The search team asks you to contact the Office of Crisis Management, Officer McFadyen.  Please ask her to help save the Nina 7 and authorize the few hours of computer time requested.  What an inexpensive price to pay for the lives of the crew.  Those are David Dyche, Rosemary Dyche, David Dyche IV, Evi Nemeth, Matthew Wootton, Kyle Jackson and Danielle Wright.  Please speak directly about the urgent need to find the Nina 7, but please be courteous.  

You Can Make A Difference

The phone number is  (202) 485.6106. The search also encourage emails to McFadyen's account which is : MCFADYENLP@STATE.GOV.



  1. I realize the Tasman Sea is not a hotbed of satellite coverage but I would think that the enmity between France and New Zealand would make any French satellites a better source of recent images than images from commercial satellites. New Zealand and Australia do not only fishery protection but immigrant-interdiction and each often involves small wooden boats being used to defeat sophisticated surveillance.

    Any efforts being made in Crowd sourcing the analysis of prior satellite images?

    If Nina crew sent ANY images to friends/relatives while enroute those image files might have geolocation codes which would show error rate of SPOT and Iridium.

    Has a PHYSICAL search of the reef been made? I understand prior shipwrecked sailors took shelter in existing wrecks on the reef.

  2. It seems the SAROPS software can be run on just about any high end computer with high end graphics capability and standard GIS mapping programs. The problem seems to be that the data on which drift modeling is based on and the data concerning prior searches used to refine the models is all owned by NZ, not the USCG.

    Rather than focusing on the NZ errors it would seem best to do your modeling on your own assumptions of position and the timing and nature of any subsequent events. You will lack the refinements abilities of prior searches and you will lack currents data


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