Still no trace of Estonian sailor lost in Carribbean

  • 2019-10-18
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonian sailor Andreas Sipsakas, who disappeared with his yacht in the Caribbean in June, has still not been found, but the man's mother, Leili Sipsakas, is attempting to retain a smidgen of hope, the regional Virumaa Teataja writes.

Sipsakas' mother, Leili, said that the fate of his son has been unknown for four months already. "Not a single clue has emerged. No," she said. The mother said that yacht owners are a very close-knit community and communicate a lot with one another via portals. The sailor's younger brother has sent search notices to Jamaica and areas close to the Caribbean.

Leili Sipsakas said that she is trying to retain hope regarding his son, who has a traveler's spirit and has journeyed all across the world. "One must hope, but I suppose the hope is diminishing with every passing day. I cry for some time and then do work to forget about things. There's nothing to be done," she said.

The sailor's mother said she was last in contact with her son on June 6, when the latter sent a text message that he is in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and is to sail onward to Negril, from where he was to head to the port of San Andreas in Colombia. "On Monday morning, June 11, it can be seen that he started heading there with his yacht," Leili Sipsakas said.

On June 11, the boat's two emergency position-indicating radiobeacons (EPIRB) were set off, the first one at 4:52 a.m. and the second at 5:40 a.m., after which the United States Coast Guard immediately launched search and rescue activities. The Estonian Central Criminal Police was alerted to the incident on the same morning by the same two emergency beacons. 

The CTG Magnesium tanker was also sent to the last known location of the vessel. Approximately four hours after the second emergency beacon was set off, the tanker's crew found a life jacket covered in oil. There was no debris on the water's surface, while nothing hinted that Sipsakas drowned or that the vessel collided with a ship.

Barbara Lichtfeldt, spokesperson for the Central Criminal Police, said that after the emergency call, the man's relatives and loved ones as well as the Colombian authorities, whose area of responsibility the call was made from, were contacted. "Police have been in contact with the US' Miami coast guard base, as the area was checked by a vessel and aircraft of the US Coast Guard, who did not find any sign of an accident," Lichtfeldt said.

The spokesperson said that the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board has opened an administrative proceeding in relation to the disappearance and Sipsakas has been declared missing via Interpol. The police have sent inquiries to Peru, Jamaica, Panama and Colombia. Searches are in the hands of the authorities in those countries. "Unfortunately, we have not received any positive responses. We cannot coordinate searchers for him at the scene in any way, this is within the competence of the local authorities. Andreas Sipsakas is still missing," Lichtfeldt said.

As several attacks by pirates have occurred in the area previously, there is still a possibility that Salacia may have been hijacked by pirates that morning. Leili Sipsakas said that as parts of the vessel have not been found and an experienced Italian sailor also went missing some time earlier, it seems to her that everything is hinting toward one direction. "That my son was taken by pirates," she said.