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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

Abandoned yacht looted after rescue

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The merchant vessel, British Loyalty, alongside the stricken yacht Red Sky off Evans Head last week (December 12). Photo Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.
The merchant vessel, British Loyalty, alongside the stricken yacht Red Sky off Evans Head last week (December 12). Photo Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.

Luis Feliu

The owner of a 50-foot yacht at the centre of a dramatic rescue off Evans Head last week has hit out at looters who took gear and personal belongings from the stricken yacht and had tried to tow the abandoned vessel.

A merchant vessel helped rescue the four crew from the Red Sky around 19 kilometres off Evans Head after they radioed a mayday call and let off a distress signal when the yacht started taking water in heavy swells on its way to Sydney from the Gold Coast.

But in the aftermath of the rescue, the crew’s possessions were looted, according to disillusioned yacht owner Mike Cramb, who told Echonetdaily how the yacht got into trouble and his despair.

‘After we abandoned, someone has come aboard and tried to tow our vessel: a rope was found through the anchor,’ Mr Cramb said.

‘One would wonder why they didn’t respond earlier and was it the vessel that didn’t answer my mayday.

‘They also helped themselves to a lot of our gear. I though the pirates lived in Somalia but it appears you have a few around the mid north coast.

‘We are devastated, we have lost everything, and to think people are looting our possessions makes us sick in the guts.

The yacht Red Sky. Photo Police Media

‘I’m not rich I worked my guts out underground as an air leg miner the hardest job on earth to save the money to buy this boat.

‘If you’re the person who stole my outboard or dingy or the bottle of Scotch I was saving for my 60th birthday or my other possessions, you can return them to the police or leave them somewhere to be picked up.

‘Red Sky was my home, it was under-insured because I’m broke after fixing it all up and leaving no job. My wife has MS and we just wanted to have a couple of good years while she’s still able to walk.’

Mr Cramb said that once his yacht had been washed ashore he discovered the yacht’s rudder had been sliced by a cable and the hull was damaged from a buoy the yacht hit.

Read Mr Cramb’s (blog) account in the comments section at the end of our last report.

It can be found at:



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  1. That sucks, the poor guy. As if having to abandon ship wasn’t enough of a pain, the thieves had to really sink the nail in. Maybe someone who knows them will drag them down to the cops…..go on, do it.

  2. What a terrible indictment on the community and individuals who performed this gutless wonder of a an act. I don’t wish it upon U, but show a bit of empathy. Put yourself in the shoes of this guy taking his seriously ill wife on perhaps only a few holidays left. Give them back. Come on, its Crismas.

  3. As a former crusing yachtsman myself, this scenario is a yacht owner’s worst nightmare. It’s bad enough having to be rescued from an emergency situation, but then to have some greedy dirt bags help themselves to your possessions is really disgusting. There are clear laws as to salvage rights, and the perps should be arrested and made an example of.
    My sympathies to Mr. Cramb and his wife. I hope you get to continue with your cruise and that you have many fine days at sea. It’s a great life, cruising.

  4. I am offering a reward of $5000 for the recovery of the lighted buoy that caused the damage to our vessel and subsequently sunk her. The buoy was not on the chart and was described by the officer on watch of the British Loyalty as a wave recorder buoy. The officer on watch has provided a statement that I can share with the editor to prove this .
    It is possible it may have been a FAD buoy as well. The last sighted position of this buoy was 29.15.406 South 153.41.391 East . This buoy severly damaged our rudder and steering allowing water into hull. I will also reward any provable information that the Evans Head FAD was lost and recovered over the last week.
    Fisheries deny this but lacks tell me they saw the. Out searching for it for 2 days.
    Mike Cramb


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