Robin Wyatt and sailing yacht Europa missing on delivery to Subic Bay

A Hong Kong registered 18.2m sailing yacht Europa, owned by yacht broker and experienced offshore sailor Robin Wyatt, left Hong Kong for Subic Bay on Thursday 1 October 2015 with an ETA at Subic Bay no later than 5 October 2015. 

On Saturday 3 October the boat’s EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) was activated indicating the boat was experiencing some difficulties.  

Hong Kong’s MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) dispatched a fixed wing aircraft to search the area.  Vessels in the vicinity of the EPIRB’s position were also asked to be on the lookout.  No yacht, life raft or debris was detected and HKMRCC continued to monitor the signal.

With the yacht’s ETA in the Philippines subsequently being missed, two fixed wing aircraft (one from Hong Kong and one from the Philippines) were dispatched on the morning of Tuesday 6 October in a coordinated search effort.  Ships in the area have also been put on alert.

The boat is new and on board are the skipper Robin Wyatt and four other crew members, all of whom are very experienced seamen; each having crossed the China Sea a number of times.   Coordination is taking place between HKMRCC, Hong Kong Government Flying Service, Philippines Navy, Philippines Coast Guard, Philippines Coast Guard Auxiliary, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and friends of the sailors in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

– Koko Mueller, RHKYC

Update: Body found and confirmed to be from the Europa 

A body has been found in the hunt for a yacht’s crew, including two Britons, missing since they were caught in a storm as they crossed the South China Sea last week.

The unidentified body and a life jacket were spotted on Tuesday on an oil-slicked sea near the 18-metre (60ft) Europa’s last known position, said commander Armand Balilo, a spokesman for the Philippine coastguard.

“A Philippine coastguard auxiliary plane … found indications that the yacht sank at the vicinity,” he said in an interview on the local TV network, ABS-CBN. “They saw a lifeless body floating and a life jacket and traces of oil.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

Further Update: Friend denies body and debris are from the missing yacht.

MANILA – A friend of the five sailors in the missing yacht from Hong Kong has dismissed reports about sighting of debris and a body in Philippine waters.

Jerry Rollin, who is also leading the search team for M/Yacht Europa that went missing off the coast of Laoag City, said ongoing search and rescue operations have yet to turn up new information on the whereabouts of the missing yacht.

“Nothing has been sighted yet. There have been various rumors that boats and people and lifejackets have been seen, but I’ve been in touch with the Hong Kong rescue center who is actually doing most of the searching and they confirmed that they have not confirmed anything yet,” Rollin said.

He added that the only thing certain so far is the intensified efforts to soon find the missing passengers even after losing the signal of the yacht's locating device.

“So at the moment what’s happening is that the Hong Kong rescue center, they brought an airplane in the area, they have had ships in the area looking and informed all ships passing through the area to keep a look out,” Rollin added.

Read the full story at ANC News.

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