An overnight search for a yachtsman missing in Bass Strait has been called off after his vessel was discovered unmanned, with authorities saying it is highly unlikely he survived.
Police received a report at 2.10pm on Thursday of an overdue vessel which had not arrived at Deal Island in the Kent Group of islands, north-west of Flinders Island.
The experienced yachtsman left Eden in NSW on an 18-metre yacht on Boxing Day and had intended to arrive at Deal Island on Monday.
A search was conducted involving the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Australian Maritime Safety Authority, and the vessel was found about 11pm on Thursday.
Victoria Police towed the yacht to Deal Island.
Tasmania Police stated that search and rescue teams "were unable to raise anyone".
A spokesperson for AMSA said the matter has been handed to police and is no longer considered a search and rescue.
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"The sailor was not on board. It is now a coronial matter," she said.
"There is now discussion between Tasmania Police and Victoria Police to determine who has jurisdiction.
"AMSA is no longer involved because the search was called off due to survive-ability."
Victoria Police has been contacted for further updates.
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