Piracy alert as SA yacht goes missing near Mozambique

A South African yacht with seven people on board, among them two South Africans, has gone missing on a cruise between the island Mayotte in the Indian Ocean and Pemba in northern Mozambique.

A plane from the European Union’s anti-piracy force in Djibouti began searching for the yacht on Sunday, while all ships in the area were warned to be on the lookout for pirates.

The captain of the missing yacht is John Sergel, a South African from Durban, and his co-skipper is Izabella Moallic, a French citizen.

Also on the cruise were Gianvieve Mancuso, an American, and her German husband Alexander Weyhe, British passport holder Jason Morenikeji, South African Frank Joubert and Dutch citizen Jasper van Straaten.

The owner of the yacht, Roger Hartley, told Beeld newspaper that because of the different nationalities of the passengers, authorities from all the involved countries had been drawn into the search.

Radio contact was last made on Tuesday around 6pm, when the group notified Mayotte port authorities that they had reached open waters.

According to Hartley, the yacht has a beacon on board that would have emitted a signal if the yacht had met with an accident, and thus far, no such signal had been received.—Sapa

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