More than three months after the official search was called off, what could be the chances the Nina — a schooner with seven souls onboard — could still be drifting out there somewhere?
Back in early July, New Zealand search officials announced they had nowhere else to look for the sailboat, with six Americans and a British passenger on its manifest.
They were heading to Australia during a June storm when sporadic transmissions from the vessel painted an increasingly bleak picture — then silence and a failed search that lasted 11 days.
But hope floods in when reason leaves a void.
Fuzzy satellite pictures of a ghost ship in one particular section of ocean — images, now a month old — have raised the spirits of friends and family.
It's also created a bit of an international incident, as the U.S. government has resisted calls to offer up clearer satellite images.
"We've been very angry and disappointed with the United States government," Ralph Baird, a senior adviser with Texas Equusearch, a private search company hired by the families, told New Zealand's Stuff.co.nz.
"They have said they will not supply more resources but they haven't supplied any resources."
Even if the battered Nina made it through the storm, the likelihood the passengers survived is very low, say New Zealand officials.
Nigel Clifford, Maritime New Zealand's General Manager of Safety and Response Services, tells QMI Agency: "The search has been extremely thorough and we are confident that had the yacht or life raft been within those search areas, we would have found them."
While the month-old satellite pictures include a position, he said the area they would need to cover again, given drifting and weather, would be massive.
He noted they are now looking over additional data sent to them about the images.
"The area to look into expands over time as, even if there is a position for an object at a particular date and time, it will drift and move as the winds and currents affect it," he explains.
There is another reason for pessimism against persistent hope.
The Nina carried three independent means of communication, including an emergency beacon.
No cry for help has been heard since June 4.
Unless you count those photos of a ghost ship snapped unemotionally by a passing machine in the sky above.