Man arrested after allegedly attempting to flee country by yacht

A man will reappear in court today after he was allegedly found hiding in the air-conditioning vent of a bulk carrier while attempting to leave the country.

About 10.30am on Saturday (20 June 2020), a large vessel, headed for Newcastle, came to the assistance of a yacht that had encountered trouble in the waters off the coast of Yamba.

The ship attached a tow line to bring the yacht towards the Newcastle offshore anchorage and a 31-year-old man, who had been onboard the yacht, was taken into a cabin on the bulk carrier.

As the large ship entered Newcastle waters about 9pm the same day, it was discovered the tow line carrying the yacht had snapped – with the yacht lost in the process – and the 31-year-old man was missing.

Officers from the Marine Area Command commenced an extensive search of the area that day, which continued into Sunday (21 June 2020); however, the man was not located.

When the ship anchored at Newcastle, NSW Police and Australian Border Force (ABC) officers, with the assistance from the Dog and Mounted Command, conducted an extensive search onboard the bulk carrier on Monday (22 June 2020).

About 11am that day, NSW Police and ABF officers located the 31-year-old man inside an air-conditioning vent on the boat.

Subsequent checks revealed the man was in breach of his bail over an alleged sexual assault and he was arrested.

During a search of the man, officers located and seized $4,435 cash and a knife to undergo forensic examination.

The Peakhurst man was taken to Newcastle Police Station, where he was charged with breach of bail.

Police will allege in court that the man had deliberately cut the tow line and planned to hide onboard the ship until it was due to depart Newcastle for Malaysia.

The man was refused bail and appeared before Newcastle Local Court on Monday 22 June 2020, where he was formally refused bail to appear before Sutherland Local Court today (Wednesday 24 June 2020).

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