The Italian Almanac


Italian News - September 18

A half eaten meal, charts of the Mediterranean and piles of clothes were found on board an empty US$600,000 twin masted sailing vessel discovered floating off the Italian coast. Police are investigating the mystery, which was discovered by coastguards on a routine patrol. The 66-foot vessel had no name and no other identification markings and a punctured tender boat was still on board.

The schooner - which was described by coastguards as of a 'classic' design - was found drifting off the coast of Punta Volpe on the island of Sardinia. Strong currents were pushing it towards rocks and coastguards boarded the vessel just in time and managed to attach a line and tow it to the port of Olbia where it was being examined. A coastguard spokesman said that they and police were trying to establish whether the yacht had been intentionally abandoned and what had happened to the crew.

Officials had discovered a plaque with the name 'Bel Amica' but said that initial checks with shipping registers had found no yacht with that name. No vessels have been reported missing or stolen, which has added to the mystery.

Yesterday, a spokesman at the harbour-master's office in Olbia said: 'At the moment the discovery is a complete mystery and we are investigating with police. There was no name and no registration markings or documents were found, but a proper search is now being carried out with the yacht in harbour. She is in perfect condition and is a very valuable classic twin-masted schooner. It gave the impression of being abandoned very quickly, but for what reason we just don't know'.