A bottle in the sea. This is how Emilie titled her message of distress on her social networks and on a forum well known to seafarers. The young woman is the niece of Joël Lanilis, known as "Félix", a sailor from the island of Ouessant (Finistère) who has been missing for several months.

The man is described as "a seasoned navigator" and has already completed several transats.

In June 2019, he left Brittany for a great sailing trip around the world aboard the Késako, a 12-meter sailboat.

In October, he had left Tahiti to set sail for Nouméa.

Since then, his family has had no news of the sailor.

The family only learned of this disappearance in December after informing the authorities of their concerns.

A few days before Christmas, a message reaches them, indicating that the boat has changed course abnormally.

"It drifts, with the winds," reports the navigator's niece in her message.

Following a call from the Maritime rescue coordination center (MRCC) in Noumea, a ship was able to locate the sailboat and approach it as it drifts off the Marshall Islands, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

“The boat seems to be abandoned”, testifies the young woman.

Impossible for the freighter to consider boarding due to the sea conditions.

"He won't come back"

Since December 21, relatives of Joël Lanilis have been struggling to contact the authorities and try to obtain answers.

They ask that a team be able to board the sailboat to see if Joël is still there.

The missing person's sister, interviewed by

Le Télégramme

, fears that her brother may have fallen overboard, as their father had done in 1968 while sailing on a merchant ship.

"Today, he won't be coming back, but if any of you can help us get things moving, contact me," says the missing sailor's niece, before concluding.

“Today, we can go to the moon, but we cannot go on a boat at sea”.


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  • Brittany

  • Brest

  • Disappearance

  • Tahiti

  • Gone

  • Ship

  • Sail

  • Navigator

  • Sea

  • Peaceful

  • Company

  • Miscellaneous facts