Sunsail has confirmed that it has selected a professional search and rescue company to search for the missing Sunsail Leopard 44 catamaran that vanished in the Indian Ocean in January

Earlier this week, the families of the South African crew  – Anthony Murray, Reginald Robertson and Jaryd Payne –  announced they were launching a crowd-funding initiative to search for the missing vessel after a container ship took photographs of an upturned vessel 600nm SE of Mauritius.

Sunsail said: “Nothing has yet been confirmed but it is believed at this stage that the upturned vessel might be the missing 444 catamaran yacht.”

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Sunsail was told of a second sighting on 5 June by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCC). “We were advised that the merchant vessel which sighted the upturned catamaran on 5 June was requested by the MRCC to attach a radar reflector to the catamaran. However, we were notified that very bad weather and sea conditions at the time (sea state 6, very rough, 4-6meter swells, wind NNE x 6/7), meant that it was too dangerous to attempt launching the ship’s boat to perform this task.”

On 6 June the vessel made an attempt to relocate the upturned catamaran “but this proved unsuccessful and no further sightings of the vessel have been reported since then in the area,” Sunsail said.

Working alongside the MRCC, Sunsail said it has selected a local specialist firm to investigate the area specified by the MRCC taking into consideration prevailing drift patterns and advised the families of the missing crew that an “observer” can be placed on board the search vessel “to accompany any exploration of the area where the upturned vessel was last seen”.

A Sunsail spokesperson told “Sunsail has been in regular contact with the families of the missing sailors and also the authorities.  It remains a priority for Sunsail to find out what happened to the missing boat and its crew.”

MRCC are continuing to alert vessels in the vicinity to look out for the missing yacht.