A navy frigate has recovered the boat drifting about 200 kilometres off the Taranaki coast but has found no sign of missing Marlborough Sounds man Kerry Blair.
The HMNZ Wellington last night found the missing 9-metre boat Erie and police boarded it but said there was no-one on board.
The Erie was first spotted by crew on an Air Force Orion early on Friday night, 166km west-northwest of New Plymouth. It appeared to be in good condition.
Mr Blair, 55, had not been heard from since he left Erie Bay, in Tory Channel in the Marlborough Sounds, in the boat about 4pm on March 8.
The boat was last seen near Cape Jackson about 5.30pm that day.
Police said the Wellington reached the boat, more than 200km off the Taranaki coast, last night. Despite 10m swells, police managed to board the boat but Mr Blair was not on board.
There was no indication of what had happened to him.
The Erie was being towed to New Plymouth but heavy seas mean it is unlikely to reach land today.
It will be examined at New Plymouth for clues as to what happened to Mr Blair.
His brother Peter Blair, of Tauranga, said police had told the family there appeared to be nothing untoward or unusual on the boat when they boarded it.
Police also said the official search for Mr Blair would be called off.
This was not what the family wanted, Peter Blair said.
"Kerry is now just another missing person file."
The family was taking the news hard.
- The Marlborough Express
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