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Gunman opens fire on luxury Superyacht

Gunman opens fire on luxury Superyacht

A gunman fired up to 18 shots at a luxury yacht as it pulled in to Rose Bay Wharf late on New Year’s Day, shattering the windows of the vessel and leaving bullet holes across its hull.

Police are investigating if the ambush in Sydney’s east has any connection to the shooting of a man who was found at Bondi Beach less than two hours later with a bullet wound in his back. The OSCAR II is a 105-foot luxury motor yacht that is available for hire for $2400 an hour in high season, or $95,000 for a week.

Rose Bay residents phoned triple-0 about 11.35pm on Wednesday after hearing a volley of bullets fired at the wharf.

Windows shattered: up to 18 bullets were fired at the OSCAR II.Windows shattered: up to 18 bullets were fired at the OSCAR II. Photo: Daniel Shaw

One woman who was fishing at Rose Bay at the time said initially she thought someone was letting off firecrackers.

Another witness told police that a gunman shot at the boat and its captain as it pulled into the wharf, before the gunman fled through the nearby Royal Sydney Golf Club course.

Detectives found the vessel, the OSCAR II, peppered with bullets and a number of bullet casings on the ground.

Bullet holes can be seen in the OSCAR II on Thursday morning after it was shot at on Wednesday night.Bullet holes can be seen in the OSCAR II on Thursday morning after it was shot at on Wednesday night. Photo: Nick Moir

The OSCAR II is a 105-foot luxury motor yacht that is available for hire for $2400 an hour in high season, or $95,000 for a week.

Boating website Charter World says the vessel boasts “top-of-the-range facilities and is stylishly furnished in understated elegance”.

It can accommodate eight guests in four “staterooms” and has a saloon, a formal evening dining area, cabins with private en suite facilities and a bar on the deck. It cruises in Queensland between June and November, and in Sydney between December and May.

Shots fired: the OSCAR II moored at Rose Bay.Shots fired: the OSCAR II moored at Rose Bay. Photo: Daniel Shaw

In October, the yacht hosted the Vogue Australia November magazine issue launch party, attended by Erica Packer, who featured on the magazine’s cover.

Detectives on Wednesday night established a crime scene at the wharf, which remained taped off on Thursday morning. Police divers also entered the water on Thursday to search the bay.

Less than two hours after the shooting, at 12.50am, police and paramedics were called to Lamrock Avenue opposite Bondi Beach to reports that a man had been shot.

A dog sniffs for evidence in Rose Bay.A dog sniffs for evidence in Rose Bay. Photo: Daniel Shaw

They arrived to find a 31-year-old man with a bullet wound to his back. He was conscious.

A witness in Bondi said he spoke to the injured man before police arrived.

“We just walked past and this guy’s just said ‘Man, I’ve been shot in the back’, and these coppers just showed up and they’ve taken over the scene …,” said the man, who did not want to be named.

Police look for evidence at Rose Bay Marina.Police look for evidence at Rose Bay Wharf. Photo: Daniel Shaw

“Apparently someone drove past in a car and shot him.”

The injured man was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital, where he was treated for injuries that were not life threatening. He has since been released from hospital.

Police said they were investigating whether the two shootings were linked. A NSW Police spokesman would not say whether the injured man had told police how he suffered the gunshot wound.

Out and about: Erica Packer at Rose Bay or Tuesday for a <i>Vogue Australia</i> event.Erica Packer boards the OSCAR II at Rose Bay for a Vogue Australia event in October. Photo: Getty Images

Detective Inspector Damian Henry, from Rose Bay local area command, could not say how many bullets were fired at the yacht, only that it was ‘‘more than 10’’.

Fairfax Media counted at least 18 holes in the sides of the boat on Thursday morning.

Detective Inspector Henry said police had seized the luxury yacht and forensic officers would examine it on Thursday. Forensic police also were examining the wharf, he said.

‘‘An incident at this location, in respect to the shooting at the Rose Bay commuter wharf, is totally out of character for this area and I’d ask anybody that might have been in the vicinity last night who may have information, might have seen something, might have heard something, if they could contact Crime Stoppers,’’ he said.

He said police from Strike Force Talon, formed to investigate gun crime in Sydney, would be involved in the investigation.

Raine, who did not give her last name, was fishing in Rose Bay at the time of the shooting and heard gunfire, which initially she mistook for fireworks.

She did not see who fired the shots.

‘‘I hear the gunshot,’’ she said.

‘‘At first [I] thought it was a firework, so crackers, or something,’’ she said.

She said she was surprised ‘‘because it’s quite loud’’. She continued fishing afterwards.

A resident, Avid, was out on a night-time bike ride and said he spoke to one of the workers from the luxury yacht before the shooting.

‘‘There was a boat that pulled up here, a triple decker sort of super yacht, and I had a chat to the staff member who said that the guys on it were hiring it out for about $2500 or something an hour,’’ he said.

‘‘Then I sort of went off on my bike ride and on the way back I saw these cop cars and everything.’’

The damaged yacht has been towed to the NSW Police Marine Area Command at Balmain for examination.

Police also have established a crime scene at Bondi Beach.

Sydney Motor Yacht Charters, which operates OSCAR II, has been contacted for comment.

Anyone with information has been urged to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or to use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page.

Story reproduced from Sydney Morning Herald website Sydney Morning Herald

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