Controversial Norwegian explorer Jarle Andhoey has abandoned his unauthorised polar expedition in search of his missing yacht and is now fleeing to South America, according to Norwegian media reports.
Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reported that Andhoey had informed his lawyer that his mission was accomplished and that he was sailing north, away from Antarctica.
Last year, Andhoey and a companion were crossing the ice in Antarctica on quad bikes when their support yacht Berserk sank in a storm in the Ross Sea with three crew members on board.
No trace was ever found of either the boat or its crew.
The self-proclaimed viking is sailing a 16m yacht, Nilaya, through the same area trying to locate the missing boat and discover why the last expedition had failed.
Andhoey, 34, fled immigration authorities in New Zealand a month ago while planning his illegal polar expedition.
And now he has ruled out a return to New Zealand as he and his crew believe they are likely to face prosecution here over their journey to Antarctica.
His crew includes New Zealander Busby Noble, who claims he was an accidental stowaway after being asleep aboard Andhoey's boat when it sailed out of Auckland in haste.
Lawyer Nils Jorgen Vordah said he had talked to Andhoey via satellite phone on Friday when he admitted giving up on the search for his missing yacht and was preparing to sail through a 200 nautical mile ice-belt.
Vordah told the Dagbladet newspaper: "There were no other circumstances which had occurred to make him give up the search. Their plans are now completed and they have decided to sail from the area and head north. But now Jarle has new questions he wants answered."
The lawyer said that Andhoey was prepared to meet any criticism in his homeland.
There was no mention of whether Busby Noble would travel with Andhoey to South America or whether he would try to return to New Zealand. Andhoey and his crew believed they would face prosecution if they returned to New Zealand for sailing into Antarctic waters without the proper authorisation.