Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Nina search: Crowd-sourcing used to help scour images

The classic American schooner Nina under sail, owned by David Dyche III, is missing en route from the Bay of Islands, New Zealand to Newcastle.
The classic American schooner Nina under sail, owned by David Dyche III, is missing en route from the Bay of Islands, New Zealand to Newcastle.

Searchers looking for the missing schooner Nina have turned to crowd-sourcing to help scour every pixel of satellite images of the Tasman Sea for clues.

A blog on the maritime website gCaptain revealed satellite images from the search had been loaded onto the crowd sourcing website Tomnod.

Professional captain David Dyche III, 58, and his wife, Rosemary, 60 own the Nina. They were with their son David Dyche Jnr, 17, and fellow Americans Evi Nemeth, 73, Kyle Jackson, 27, and Danielle Wright, 18 when the boat disappeared. Also on board was Briton Matthew Wootton, 35.

They were last heard from on June 4 in rough condition in the Tasman sea after leaving New Zealand.

According to the gCaptain website, the search for the 85-year-old schooner was "breaking new ground in the use of satellite images to locate mariners".

Tim Paynter of the gCaptain website said using the Tomnod website would help narrow down images of interest in the search.

When on the Tomnod website, people are asked to tag objects as either ship/boat, life raft or other in images.

"Under crowd sourcing theory, when many untrained observers pick the same target, they are usually as accurate as an expert," Mr Paynter said.

More than 13,000 people had signed up to review the Tasman Sea images, though not all were active, he said.

"According to the TES satellite co-ordinator, Larry Slack, the volunteer researchers have reviewed 3,248,584 individual maps so far."

Family and friends have remained hopeful for the survival of their loved ones, and have raised funds to keep private search efforts alive.

Earlier this month, the parents of Ms Wright travelled to Australia to help in an aerial search of an area west of Norfolk Island.

According to the Facebook page 'Holding Hope for the Nina', the Robin and Ricky Wright had raised enough funding for up to 10 days of searching.

The latest update on the Facebook page, posted two days ago by Mrs Wright, said the pair had spent two days searching the eastern coast of Australia with a training pilot.

- APNZ

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