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‘Ghost boat’ is no crime scene

A crewless sailing catamaran found adrift in April 2007 off the Great Barrier Reef continues to be the subject of an Australian investigation. Kaz II was found with its shredded sails up, lights on, diesel running and food on the galley table, but with none of the three crewmembers on board.

As an inquest continued in August, a forensics police officer told investigators no evidence of foul play had been found aboard the boat. The wallets of all three men — each containing money — were found on board, along with a shotgun and ammunition still padlocked in its case. Investigators also heard from the former owner, who sold the vessel to one of the missing men, Peter Tunstead. He told investigators the crew seemed “anxious” over preparations for their departure, including trouble with a laptop that contained digital charts.

The skipper’s log includes statements that he was unable to figure out how to operate the boat’s GPS system, including the inability to input waypoints. One entry released during the inquest reportedly reads: “Spent rest of night trying to plot waypoints and route, no luck. … I am trying to read GPS book so as we can make an auto route. No luck.” Tunstead also recorded problems with the jib.