20 biggest scandals at sea

Australia's most wanted terrorise locals on a yacht

A father and son became Australia’s ‘most wanted’ after they sailed along the country’s east coast committing crimes wherever they docked, News Grio reports.

Gino, 57, and Mark Stocco, 35, started their life on the run 12 years ago after father Gino bought a yacht, the Kiwarrak, with a $100,000 divorce settlement. According to a family member, Gino “went haywire” following the break-up of his marriage.

They set sail from the New South Wales coastal town of Taree, funding their trip by defrauding people they met in port. The pair were accused of stealing several people's identities, including a priest and an Australian soldier serving in Iraq along the way.

Gino Stocco was sentenced to four months and one week's imprisonment and Mark Stocco to two months. They were fined a total of A$3,000.

Following their release from a prison in Victoria, the pair have allegedly embarked on a new life of crime robbing rural properties, for which there are warrants for their arrest.

Prostitute murders Google executive on his yacht

Murder, drugs, call girls and court rooms – the most recent headline-making scandal at sea has all the calling cards of disrepute.

Google executive Forrest Timothy Hayes was found dead on his yacht, Escape, in November 2013 in Santa Cruz Harbor in California. Thanks to surveillance cameras installed on board, what happened to Hayes wasn’t left a mystery.

On the night in question, Forrest Timothy Hayes had hired a call girl named Alix Tichelman – as he had several times previously. According to authorities, Tichelman injected the Google exec with heroin, then left Forrest Timothy Hayes alone without seeking help when he passed out from an apparent drug overdose.

Video footage captured on the yacht showed Alix Tichelman casually gathering her things, finishing a glass of wine and stepping over the motionless Hayes before lowering the blinds and leaving the yacht.

Tichelman was arrested eight months later, and on May 19, 2015, she pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and administering drugs. A Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge has sentenced her to six years in prison.

Alix Tichelman’s defence attorney, Larry Biggman, says, “It was an accidental overdose between two consenting adults”, and expects to have her sentence reduced to only three years, with a year credited for time served.

Natalie Wood drowned during boat trip – was it really an accident?

The American actress, Natalie Wood, sadly drowned in 1981 on a boat trip off Los Angeles, California. Her husband, Robert Wagner, was on board as well as actor Christopher Walken. Her death was declared an accident, but in 2011 this scandal at sea gained headlines once again when a new investigation was opened after the boat’s captain admitted he had lied to police and that Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner had fought that evening. The cause of death was changed to “drowning and other undetermined factors”.

Donald Crowhurt fakes log in Golden Globe round-the-world yacht race

Donald Crowhurst drowned, presumed suicide, while competing in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 1969. The race was a non-stop, single-handed, round-the-world yacht race, which was the first of its kind. What makes this a scandal at sea is that when Crowhurt’s boat was found, it was uncovered that he had spent several months falsifying his position in radio reports and, far from sailing around the world, he had never left the Atlantic.

It seems that Donald Crowhurst, who was something of a fantasist but not an experienced sailor, bit off more than he could chew. Donald Crowhurst’s boat, Teignmouth Electron, was a 12 metre trimaran that was unproven on such long voyages, and he had only sailed her for a few weeks before leaving port, in which time he had fallen overboard several times. It was felt that when Crowhurst found he was not up to the task, he decided to hide in the South Atlantic, send fake radio reports of his location and falsify his logs before his return, rather than admit defeat and face financial ruin. As other competitors dropped out and Donald Crowhurst looked as if he might win on elapsed time (the field started on different dates), it is thought he panicked at the thought of a proper investigation and jumped overboard. The boat was found unoccupied 12 days after his last radio transmission. Examination of his logbooks revealed the deception. A film is in the works on this sad and scandalous yachting story, starring Colin Firth as Donald Crowhurst, and directed by James Marsh.

Boater Andrew Biddle fakes own death

The facts seem to point to one conclusion: championship speed boater Andrew Biddle tried to his fake his own death after he “disappeared” in a boating accident in July 2014. After an accident on a pontoon boat, Andrew Biddle fell overboard and couldn’t be found, prompting an 18-hour search by the US Coast Guard. This turned into a manhunt by the New Jersey police when it came to light that Andrew Biddle was indicted for defrauding his clients at his brokerage firm. While Andrew Biddle recently resurfaced and turned himself in, it is still a mystery as to where he’d been hiding out the six-plus-months he was on the lam, where he intended to go and what punishment will befall him now.

Gary Hart’s sex scandal ruins US presidential bid

Picture: Rex Features

Taking to the sea isn’t always enough to stop the prying eyes and lens of the paparazzi, as Democrat Gary Hart learned when his antics on board sunk his bid for the seat of US president. Photos emerged the politician cavorting with a woman who was most certainly not his wife on a yacht very aptly called Monkey Business.

Actor Errol Flynn accused of abuse

Australian-American actor Errol Flynn might have been glorified for his romantic, swashbuckler roles and playboy lifestyle making time with young starlets, but it was the latter that got him into hot water. Errol Flynn was accused, and acquitted, of raping an underage girl on yacht Sirocco in 1943.

The “Minnesota Love Boat” scandal

The original “Love Boat” was a zany, cheesy and beloved 1970s American TV show that took place on a cruise ship. An event in 2005 that became known as the “Minnesota Love Boat” scandal was of a much less discreet variety. Seventeen members of the Minnesota Vikings American football team chartered two yachts and a large number of prostitutes for a mid-season bonding session, making this one of the more notorious scandals at sea.

Superyacht Savarona said to host wild sex parties

In 2010, police arrested 14 people on board Savarona, a superyacht that belonged to Kemal Ataturk, the Turkish leader, in the 1930s. Those arrested included businessmen and underage girls from Russia and Ukraine involved in a prostitution ring.

Lady Docker filmed dancing with coalminers on Shemara

The 1950s socialite Lady Docker, known to the press as “Naughty Norah”, was in a string of scandals at sea, including being banned from the French Riviera after tearing up Monaco’s flag and being fined for snatching a harbour guard’s beret in Capri, Italy. In 1954, she made the papers for throwing a party on the family yacht, Shemara, and being filmed dancing a saucy hornpipe. Her guest list was far from the celebrity set and instead comprised 45 coalminers from Leeds.

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