There are "grave concerns" for the safety of a British man and his
six crew-mates aboard a ship that has gone missing en route to Australia.
The 70-foot sailing ship Nina and her crew - the 35-year-old Briton and six Americans - has not been heard from for more than three weeks, Maritime New Zealand said.
Two search and rescue missions by an aircraft covering almost half-a-million square miles of the Tasman Sea, which the 75-year- old vessel was trying to cross en route to Newcastle, New South Wales, have failed to find any sign of the ship or her crew.
Local conditions in the 1400-mile-wide sea separating Australia and New Zealand were poor at the time Nina was last heard from on June 4.
Kevin Banaghan, spokesman for the Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand, said: "Unfortunately, no sign of the vessel has been found.
"Our records show that conditions at the last known position for the vessel were very rough, with winds gusting to 68mph and swells of up to 26 feet.
"We do hold grave concerns for the Nina and her crew but remain hopeful of a positive outcome."
The ship left Opua on New Zealand's North Island on May 29.
When last heard from six days later she was about 370 nautical miles west-north-west of the country's most northerly point.
The New Zealand authorities started attempting to make contact with the ship on June 14, after being alerted by the families of those on board.
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