The story of the ghost yacht that sank in the ice and then resurfaced


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ghost yacht

“Mar Sem Fim,” also called “Endless Sea,” was a Brazilian yacht that sank in Maxwell Bay of Ardley Cove, Antarctica, about 850 kilometers south of Cape Horn in April 7 years ago. Since then it has remained a ghost boat for over a year, half sunk.

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Ghost yacht, was engaged in a documentary

Owned by a well-known Brazilian journalist and businessman, João Lara Mesquita, the yacht had four people on board when it sank. The crew was busy filming a documentary off the Antarctic coast when a strong wind of more than 100 kilometers per hour caught the boat pushing it against the ice. Trapped in freezing weather, the crewmen radioed a mayday that was received by the Chilean navy at Bahia Fildes base in Antarctica.

All four researchers were rescued, but bad weather delayed the process by a couple of days. The waves were very high and the wind kept blowing relentlessly. “Our evacuation was extremely risky. Waves of nearly two meters and 40-knot winds made operations really arduous.” A member of the Endless Sea crew tells. When the Chilean navy boat was finally able to approach, the documentary filmmakers immediately jumped aboard, finally to safety. Everything went well for the people, but not for Mar Sem Fim who, at the time, could not be recovered in any way.

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Ghost yacht sunk and trapped in ice

The icy water that entered the hull then froze, expanding and causing the Mar Sem Fim yacht to sink to the bottom of the shallow bay, just 10 meters. For one year it was possible to observe the boat from above in early 2013. Owner João Lara Mesquita was then able to return to that position, and when weather conditions allowed, he sent down divers who wrapped the hull with suspenders attached to some inflated buoys on either side.

The buoys were inflated by gradually raising the yacht that had been underwater for nearly a year. Once the boat resurfaced, towing operations began to the shore where researchers retrieved their equipment. The maximum insurance coverage, however, was “only” $700,000. Too few to repair all the damage the ship sustained in the year underwater.

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