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Rower fears pirates stole his abandoned 25ft boat

May 2 2003

A ROWER who abandoned ship in the middle of the Pacific is bidding to get his boat back amid fears it may have been taken by pirates.

Three weeks after Andrew Halsey was rescued during a solo row from Peru to Australia, his 25ft boat Brittany Rose has emerged near the coast of Costa Rica.

On April 4, after 129 days at sea, Mr. Halsey, of Russell Square, set off an emergency beacon and was picked up by the Chinese crew of fishing boat the Tarzan 16, who transferred him to the American coastguards.

The 45-year-old believed the £50,000 boat - his only asset - was lost at sea.

But last Friday Kenneth Crutchlow, of the Ocean Rowers Society (ORS), based in Camden Town, was alerted that the tracking device on Mr. Halsey's boat had been activated.

Mr. Halsey had not activated the beacon and had left it on the boat.

The signal from the device was transmitting from near Costa Rica - the direction Tarzan 16 was headed.

Mr. Crutchlow believes the crew returned to pick up Brittany Rose. 

He said: "All we know for a fact is they picked up a beacon and it was activated a few hundred miles from the coast of Costa Rica. I would conclude they have picked up the whole boat or they have gone on board and stripped it."

Although it was believed the Tarzan 16 was a Panamanian vessel, ORS have failed to find where it is registered, prompting fears it may be a pirate boat.

Nick Halsey, Andrew's brother and manager, said: "He was hoping it would turn up. If we get the boat we can get it sent back to England then we can decide if we can use it again. He is feeling a little superstitious at the moment. He has had bad luck with that boat-twice."

Mr. Halsey was bidding to become the first epileptic rower to cross the Pacific, but he made little progress towards his destination. He also failed in a previous bid to cross the ocean in 2000.

He is now planning another row although details of the journey have yet to be confirmed. His bid will not be supported by the ORS after the parties fell out during Mr. Halsey's latest effort.


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