Thursday, January 30, 2014

RCC-NZ Requests Independent Review Of Nina Search

One News of New Zealand reports the Rescue Coordination Center New Zealand (RCC-NZ) has ordered an independent review of their efforts to find the missing Nina.  According to One New Zealand, the review will probe the questions about why it took three weeks to launch the Nina search and why the effort was suspended two weeks later.

The Nina, a 1928 American flagged schooner, ceased communicating with New Zealand weather man, Bob McDavitt.  A late recovered text message indicated the storm sails had been shredded and the boat was continuing on a course of 310 degrees at 4 knots.  Efforts to contact the Nina were unsuccessful.  The RCC-NZ refused to task search aircraft until the Nina failed to reach her destination in Australia on schedule.

Meanwhile, a public debate rages in New Zealand about what obligation the New Zealand tax payer has in searching for a yacht that did not have anyone from New Zealand aboard her.  The Safety Of Life At Sea,  better known as the SOLAS convention, is a treaty passed in 1914 after the sinking of the Titanic.  It originally dealt with minimum ship board safety requirements since the Titanic did not carry enough lifeboats for the passengers and crew.

The SOLAS treaty divides the wold into 13 rescue areas and assigns responsibility for rescue to various countries under the treaty.   In November of 1974, major revisions in the treaty were made.

New Zealand has an immense area to patrol under the SOLAS treaty.  Responsibility under the treaty is not assigned by where a boat or ship is registered.  Rather, a country determines their responsibility by where the yacht is located.  The last position report of a yacht is used to determine which SAR area will assume primary responsibility for the search.  

The  International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual provides guidance to countries in 
adopting their search and rescue procedures.  Each country adopts procedures based upon recommendations made in the manual and then is expected to follow those procedures.  

Aboard the Nina is Matthew Wootton, Danielle Wright, University of Colorado retired Professor Evi Nemeth, Kyle Jackson and the Nina's owner David Dyche along with his son David IV and wife Rosemary. The families say they are asking sailors, pilots, cruise ship passengers, fishermen, and even tourists walking the islands and beaches of Australia to keep an eye out for the missing schooner Nina.  Updates and information can be found at Here.

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