8 Mar 2013

Yacht looted on NSW beach

9:59 am on 8 March 2013

Luck has run out for a couple rescued from their yacht during a storm, as the boat, which washed up on the coast of new South Wales relatively unscathed, has been looted.

In November last year Tania Davies, 43, of Auckland and Steve Jones, 52, were saved by the cargo ship Chengtu after Windigo, an 11-metre yacht, rolled in 10 metre swells about 700km southwest of Tonga.

AAP reports the abandoned fibreglass craft drifted about 2000 nautical miles and eventually landed near Coffs Harbour with most of the couple's gear, worth about $A60,000, still on board.

But that's when their fortunes changed for the worse. Within a day of landing on the beach the craft was looted. It was not insured.

The ABC reports wet weather clothing, the ship's anchor and chain, marine-grade solar panels, cooking equipment and other items were stolen.

Worse still, it may cost Ms Davies and Mr Jones $A100,000 to remove the yacht. And they could be hit with import duty by customs as the craft is considered a luxury item.

The couple are asking for help to raise funds for the salvage operation.

"We've got no money, absolutely nothing," Ms Davies told the ABC.

"We're in a Catch-22 situation. People have stolen everything from our home and now they're telling us they want us to pay to destroy our house."

An amnesty for the return of the goods has been announced by police.