M/Y VivieRae II Recovered After Being Adrift

16 March 2023 By Staff Report
Credit: Instagram/@salvage_and_wreck

Since March 2, 29.5-meter M/Y VivieRae II had been adrift in the Arafuru Sea near Indonesia after a rope became entangled in the running gear. There was no reported harm to those on board. 

After 10 days, the yacht was recovered safely and arrived at Thursday Island, Australia, the following day. Repairs to VivieRae II will be completed in Brisbane before continuing her journey west around the world.

VivieRae II’s owner Bob Giles told BOAT International that the incident occurred when the crew were trying to retrieve a tow line attached to the tender and the line became entangled in the running gear, so the captain turned off the engines. He said it had been “a very difficult and arduous 10 days” but he was fortunate that no one was hurt.

"The captain was able to drop anchor although the depth is about 60 meters and VivieRae II has about 85 to 90 meters of anchor chain," Giles said. The weather and winds caused the anchor to drag.

The yacht was in transit to Sorong, Indonesia, after leaving the Marshall Islands on February 26 when the incident occurred. The search and rescue (SAR) office received a report of the incident from a representative of the vessel’s agent on March 3, according to local media JUBI. It has reported challenges in finding a vessel to tow the yacht, in addition to weather delaying the rescue with wind speeds reaching 50 kmph and wave heights up to five meters.

According to JUBI, the Merpati Navigation Ship carrying a rescue team was deployed on March 5 but had to return to the Merauke Navigation Pier due to the weather. It was meant to also tow the yacht.

The Head of the Merauke SAR office Supriyanto Ridwan told local media Kompas that as of March 6 at approximately 10 a.m. local time, “the victims have been helped by an Australian ship in a safe condition and have headed to Australia.”

On March 12, Giles and Former Captain Gareth Schwegman reached the yacht. "[We] used scuba equipment to dive under VivieRae II and clear the tow line from the port propeller and a large fishing net entangled in the starboard [propeller] along with the starboard stabilizer fin," he said. "The operation took about two hours to clear both propellers, we also found no damage to the running gear."

The yacht’s tender Ricochet was lost in the incident but was able to be recovered when it was spotted by a pilot boat near Thursday Island, 240 miles south of the yacht’s location.