2 Apr 2012

Norwegian arrested after Antarctic voyage

7:41 pm on 2 April 2012

The Norwegian adventurer who made an unauthorised trip to Antarctica with a New Zealander on board has been arrested off the coast of Chile.

Jarle Andhoy and his four crew were arrested in waters near the border of Chile and Argentina.

They were escorted to a nearby naval base at Puerto Williams and their sailing permit has been revoked.

Mr Andhoy's lawyer Nils Jørgen Vordahl told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme the arrest was made after a request from New Zealand authorities.

However, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says the men are not under arrest as far as it knows.

A ministry spokesperson says the Government alerted Chilean authorities to the unauthorised expedition and has been encouraging Norway to take action against Mr Andhoy.

Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten is quoting the Chilean naval commander as saying the yacht was taken into custody because the skipper gave the wrong name of the boat when contacted on naval radio.

Crew reported to be fine

In January this year, Jarle Andhoy left New Zealand for Antarctica on the yacht Nilaya in search of missing sail boat Berserk, which sank in McMurdo Sound on his previous unauthorised expedition. Three people died in the sinking.

Norwegian authorities had asked New Zealand to stop the latest expedition, but the Nilaya left Auckland in a hurry on 23 January after Mr Andhoy was served with a deportation notice.

Mr Andhoy abandoned the search for the Berserk in February and the crew decided against sailing back to New Zealand, fearing they would face prosecution for not getting permission to sail to Antarctica.

Mr Andhoy's lawyer Nils Jørgen Vordahl says the crew of the Nilaya are fine, but are still waiting to see official papers detailing why they have been arrested.

A spokesperson for Mr Andhoy, Rune Olsgaard, told Morning Report the Chilean navy has confined the crew to the boat and three armed guards are making sure they don't leave the naval base.

NZ crew member could be prosecuted

New Zealander Busby Noble joined the crew in Auckland, leaving the country without a passport.

All boats leaving New Zealand must notify Customs of their intention and have departure cards and passports for everyone on board.

A spokesperson for Customs says it will be taking advice from MFAT on whether Mr Busby could be prosecuted.

MFAT says the embassy in Chile is ready to provide consular assistance to Mr Noble.