A yacht ran aground at Brunswick Heads on Wednesday evening with no-one aboard. It had floated empty half-way across the Tasman.
At about 6.15pm the New Zealand vessel Scotch Bonnet was found stranded in the surf zone a kilometre south of the Brunswick bar on main beach.
It turns out the vessel was abandoned on the Tasman Sea, mid-way between Australia and New Zealand, in November last year.
The vessel was de-masted and had other hull damage when local police found it, according to Tweed-Byron LAC spokesperson Sgt Alan McKittrick.
‘Surf rescue did a search around the area but didn’t find anyone,’ he told Echonetdaily.
Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter spokesperson Therese Shier said the chopper was tasked with assisting in the search on Wednesday night but failed to find anything.
The yacht had been sailing from the Bay of Islands in New Zealand’s North Island to Sydney in November last year when the occupants got into trouble and were rescued in the Tasman Sea.
But the vessel was considered not recoverable and abandoned.
It was sighted again on 11 December by cruise ship Sun Princess, which stopped and searched it but found no-one aboard. The ship requested permission to abandon the boat and continue on its cruise to Brisbane, which was approved by the Rescue Co-Ordination Centre.
‘Water police will try to float the vessel and tow it to safety,’ Sgt McKittrick said. ‘It will then be a matter for International Marine Courts, because the vessel was abandoned on the high seas, unless the owner or insurance company takes responsibility for it.