Rogue Antarctica yacht trip: 'I must have answers'

22:03, Jan 25 2012
Nilaya yacht
ROGUE YACHT: The Nilaya.

A self-proclaimed Viking and explorer has confirmed he is heading to Antarctica from New Zealand nearly a year after his earlier polar bid ended with the deaths of three men.

Jarle Andhoey has told Oslo's Vestfold Blad that he wanted to find the remains of the yacht Berserk and the three men who were aboard it.

He also wanted to travel to the South Pole by quad bike.

Along with several others, including a television cameraman, Andhoey left Auckland over the weekend on a 16 metre steel yacht, Nilaya.

Maritime New Zealand, the Customs Service and the Royal New Zealand Navy are trying to find the Nilaya, which does not have the legal authority to head to Antarctica.

Andhoey told Vestford he was going to the pole using the same quad bikes he left behind last year.

"I'm going to go down again, I must have answers to what has happened," he told the newspaper.

"For me it is unreal that a boat with three men, so much deck equipment and cargo is lost without a trace, except for a torn inflatable.

"They found the only piece of equipment during the search, water bottles and various trifles.

"But we had a lot more on board that definitely should have come up."

A Customs Service spokesman said there had been no reported sightings overnight of the yacht.

Customs believed Andhoey might have changed the name of his vessel to the Berserk or Berserk 4, which he has done in previous expeditions.

Customs said anyone seeing the boat should call 0800 4 Customs (0800 428 786).

Andhoey was sailing with a teenager, Samuel Massie, and several others.

He said he thought about the three dead men every day and could not calm down until back in Antarctica.

"I work constantly to find more information about the disappearance. After all, three very good friends who are gone, and I will not rest until I know more."

Broadcaster NRK local explorer Lars Ebbesen said a trip south would be very tough.

"I know that he left a port in New Zealand 10 January," Ebbesen said.

"Some claim to have seen Andhoey Monday this week, so it is conceivable that the 14 days between them used to go through the new boat. He needs to strengthen and rig the boat."

Ebbesen was critical of Adhoey.

"Andhoey claims, in a way, [a] right to the adventure and said he will honour Roald Amundsen. But Amundsen was extremely concerned about security."

This new voyage came a week after Norway television ran documentary made by Andhoey on last year's disaster. Family of the three killed went to court unsuccessfully to stop the broadcast.

Last February Berserk arrived in McMurdo Sound to drop off Andhoey and Massie who had quad bikes and were wanting to drive to the South Pole.

While they were ashore, Berserk, with three men aboard, disappeared 33 kilometres north of New Zealand's Scott Base.

HMNZS Wellington, an ice-strengthened patrol boat, initially joined the search but was hit by an extreme polar storm which caused some damage to the new vessel.

The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin found an empty life raft from Berserk but the lost three - Robert Skaane, 34, Tom Gisle Bellika, 36, and South African Leonard Banks, 32 - were never found.

Andhoey abandoned his trek to the Pole and returned to Norway where he was fined 25,000 kroner (around NZ$5000) for his illegal trip.