Research Team Rescues Yacht in South Pacific

Caro Vita aground - photo by Nautilus courtesy Matangitonga
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When the team aboard the Nor Sky Research vessel, exploring the western Pacific Ocean's 'Rim of Fire' for high grade metals, heard the Mayday, they didn't hesitate. New Zealand yacht Caro Vita was stuck on Hakau Mamao Reef, in the northern area of the Tongatapu Island Group, and they went to the rescue.

The 53 ft Warwick cruising yacht was fully aground on the reef when the Nautilus Minerals team picked up the mayday call from about eight nautical miles away.

A New Zealand navy vessel was on the way to assist but the Nor Sky arrived first. The Nautilus team passed ropes to a fast rescue craft from the navy ship the Resolution to take to the stricken yacht and then Nor Sky was able to pull the troubled Caro Vita clear from the rocks.

The yacht was able to sail the rest of the way to safe anchorage at Nuku'alofa harbour. The Caro Vita is believed to be owned by Sail Marlborough Ltd. with skipper-owner Jo Ivory, and it is not known how many people were on board when the yacht went up on the reef. There were strong winds at the time.


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Captain Roman Tarnowski of Nor Sky received a plaque and photo from the Resolution for his team's brave and prompt effort in the rescue.

Paul Taumoepeau of Nautilus Minerals Tonga said that the Nor Sky had been exploring about 200 nautical miles from Tongatapu and was underway to the Nuku'alofa harbour on October 6 to change personnel, 'a happy coincidence for the Caro Vita and her crew,' he said.

The dramatic pictures were taken by members of the Nautilus Team and given to Tonga's Matangitonga.to.

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