Update: Two mystery boats in rescue bid

A New Zealand air force Orion has been called in to assist in what is being described as an apparent sinking of one of two mystery boats that were ordered out of Samoa two weeks ago.

Maritime New Zealand says the 31 metre boat Horizons began to take on water 280 kilometres south west of Pago Pago in American Samoa.

But before the Orion could reach the boat in distress the vessel Last Stall, described by Maritime New Zealand as a charter fishing boat, went alongside Horizon and took off two Americans and a Canadian.

Horizons was expected to sink but remained afloat for now. It was not known what caused it to take on water.

Both Horizons and Last Stall have been the centre of intrigue in Samoa since May, and there has been no explanation of what they are doing.

They both look like luxury boats.

On May 30 the Talamua website reported that Horizon and Last Stall both were anchored offshore of Saoluafata village, east of the capital Apia.

They had not received customs or immigration clearance.

The Samoan police boat Nafanua seized both boats and took them to Matautu Wharf in Apia Harbour.

Talamua, which said there were guns and ammunition seized, reported that five adults on board, three men and women - all foreigners, were taken in for questioning.

It said the boats were raided when policeman had become curious about the boat after seeing it out at sea as he drove through nearby Luatuanu'u to and from work.

Residents told him nothing about the boat other than that it appeared to be a fishing vessel.

In May Police Commissioner Lilomaiava Fou Taioalo confirmed the raid but not the details of sea raid.

"I have not seen the report yet," Lilomaiava said.

"No one is in custody at the moment."

Talamua reported that there had been earlier cases of ships calling at remote villages to off-load cargo. Residents had received tips not to report them.


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