Monday, March 19, 2012

Norwegian Sailor Runs Into Trouble In The Antarctic Again!

Remember that Norwegian sailing ship called Berserk that sunk off the coast of Antarctica last year? The ship was operating in the Southern Ocean without proper permits when a major storm hit the region. Three crew members lost their lives in the accident, although the captain of the vessel, Jarle Andhoey, was actually on the Antarctic continent at the time. He and another man were attempting to travel illegally to the South Pole on ATV's and were unaware of the sinking of their ship until later. When he and his companion were later rescued, Andhoey faced a criminal investigation back in Norway and was ultimately fined $5000 for not having the proper permits or insurance to operate near Antarctica.

Fast forward a year and Andhoey seems to be up to his old tricks. According this story on Jon Bowermaster's website, the Norwegian sailor has returned to the Antarctic once again this year and has once again run into trouble. As of this writing, no one has seen or heard from Andhoey and his crew for nearly a week. One of the crew members did phone home to his wife using a satellite phone a few days back and reported that the ship had broken a mast and was out of diesel fuel and food, but after that there has been no direct contact with the vessel. A legal representative of Andhoey later confirmed that the ship, a 52-foot yacht named Nilaya, was in trouble and was attempting to make its way to an Argentinian base on Antarctica to seek help.

What exactly was this self-proclaimed "Viking" doing back in Antarctic waters this year? He claims he was headed back to conduct his own search for the Berserk, the ship that went missing a year ago. Of course, he was also once again operating without proper permits or insurance, which prompted officials from Norway to alter the authorities in New Zealand to keep their eyes peeled for the Nilaya.

As Jon reports in his story, Andhoey and his crew found no trace of the Berserk and were apparently attempting to reach Cape Horn and what they thought would be potential safety from prosecution in Argentina. Those waters are treacherous this time of year however and it seems that the ship has once again run into trouble and now one is sure of its whereabout at this time.

Back in January I had read about Andhoey's return to the Southern Ocean and his search for his missing ship. I had also read that he was most likely entering those waters illegally once again. At the time, I didn't want to give the guy any more publicity than he had already received. Of course, I didn't think that he could possibly run into trouble again this year, but apparently his reckless nature knows no bounds. If he were sailing solo I would simply chalk this up as someone who was too careless for his own good and say that he is only getting one he deserves. But Andhoey keeps putting the lives of others in danger as well and he may now be responsible for the deaths of several more people. If they do find him and his crew alive and adrift off the coast of Antarctica, I hope they make sure that he never sails anywhere again.

5 comments:

jump said...

Enjoy the blog. Thanks for your work.

But.

More than a hint of sanctimony here.

Your acrimony toward this eccentric gentleman seems to be based on him apparently not having a permit.

Just because he is ruffling the feathers of the sailing establishment and/or professional tour operators (who run tours, not adventures) does not mean, in my book, that he is getting what he "deserves", ie when the man might well be dead or close to it.

I hope they get home.

Kraig Becker said...

My issue with Andhoey is that he clearly doesn't shouldn't be sailing in these dangerous waters and his actions last year led to three deaths and it is possible he's leading others to their death once again.

That said, you're right. I'd like to see them all come home safe and sound. Then he can get what he deserves.

jump said...

You say it is clear he should not be there but it why is so clear?

Is every climber who led an expedition where members died forever banished from the mountains?

That aside, after reading your piece, that just leaves the permit issue.

Is that why you are attacking the man? He has no permit?

If not, I am not sure where your condemnation and personal attacks come from. Pretty harsh.

Kraig Becker said...

If a mountain guide led two expeditions on successive years in which people died as a result of his or her actions, then I believe people would genuinely start to question whether or not they should be there as well.

The permit issue isn't a simple one. Having a permit, and insurance, allows the proper authorities to know that you are there and should the need arise, come and assist you. Last year there was a massive effort expended by ships from New Zealand and the U.S. to try to find his missing vessel and it is beginning to sound like a similar search will need to be conducted again this year.

The lack of permits is simply Andhoey's way of flaunting his disdain for the system however and the fact that he has done it again demonstrates his callous approach to travel in the Southern Ocean. The fact that three people died last year while he was operating illegally in the area was sad news indeed. The fact that it could very likely happen again this year is inexcusable.

Using your mountain guide analogy on the permits there was an American climber a few years back who attempted to climb Everest without a permit. The man was eventually detained by authorities in Nepal, then deported and banned from climbing a Himalayan peak for 10 years. That ban is easier to enforce than preventing someone from sailing on the ocean of course, but I would support a similar ban for Jarl.

BTW, did you know he has a mechanic aboard the ship who was not suppose to be a part of the crew? The man was aboard doing some last minute affairs and the ship left in such a hurry, in order to avoid the NZ authorities, that Andhoey and his crew didn't even realize he was there until after they got underway. They didn't return to drop the man off and now he is an unwilling passenger on this voyage. What if something happens to that man? What would you tell his family?

Palmer said...

I agree with Kraig's points.
It's not his "ruffling feathers" which makes Jarle's conduct so reprehensible/ That's just his way of conjuring support based on the entertainment value of his antics.

Further to what Kraig pointed out, his follow-up tactics do however have serious implications for those who aspire to sail responsibly to those parts in future.

He makes a point of putting himself under a deep obligation to various local authorities, then manipulates the facts to repay their efforts by burying the fangs of his fans in their fannies. Fanks a lot, Jarle!

He's on his way, inexplicably, to the Antarctic peninsula to seek yet more help. Rinse and repeat.
If he genuinely needed help, that would be the stupidest itinerary imaginable, given that the bases are not resourced for such help.
Furthermore he's heading in the wrong direction at a very wrong time of year.

Future adventure or expedition sailors will inevitably have to suffer more stringent permit and regulatory requirements, whereas the present ones are sensible and reasonable, and administered generally with a light touch.