Omega, sponsors of Sir Peter Blake's Seamaster ketch, have confirmed that Blake was murdered earlier today

Following is the press release issued by Omega, based in Bienne, Switzerland, concerning the death of Sir Peter Blake.

It is with deepest regret that Omega learned of the death of Sir Peter Blake KBE who was shot and killed by armed intruders who boarded the ‘blakexpeditions’ vessel Seamaster, anchored off Macapa at the mouth of the River Amazon, early this morning (Central European Time).

Sir Peter apparently died instantly despite desperate resuscitation efforts by members of the Seamaster crew.

He is survived by his wife, Lady Pippa Blake, and their two children, Sarah-Jane and James.

Seamaster was anchored off Macapa awaiting customs clearance to depart Brazilian waters after a two-month expedition exploring the Amazon and the Rio Negro as part of the ‘blakexpeditions’ programme to monitor the effects of global warming and pollution on the most environmentally sensitive regions in the world.

Seamaster was due to depart tomorrow for the Orinoco River, in Venezuela, to meet and pick-up the ‘blakexpeditions’ jungle team which has continued the exploration work, crossing from the Rio Negro into the head waters of the Orinoco and down to its mouth in the Caribbean.

The group of seven or eight armed and hooded intruders boarded Seamaster at approximately 10.15pm local time.

Sir Peter was fatally shot and two other members of Seamaster’s crew were injured, one with a gunshot wound across the back, the other with a blow to the face. Both injured men are back aboard Seamaster after receiving hospital treatment. The other seven Seamaster crew were badly shaken but unharmed.

Brazilian police are investigating.

Omega is deeply shocked and devastated by this senseless killing. Nicolas G hayek, Chairman and CEO of the Swatch Group, Omega’s parent company, said “Sir Peter has been a personal friend for a number of years and we were honoured to support his worthwhile cause. No words can express our sorrow at this sad loss and at this time our thoughts are with his family in England and his close friends within the ‘blakexpeditions’ organisation.”

“Sir Peter was a very special person to many people around the world, highly regarded because of the man he was, because of everything he had achieved and because of everything he represented,” said ‘blakexpeditions’ spokesman Alan Sefton.

“He had left behind his many major achievements in sport to dedicate himself to creating greater awareness of the need to take better care of the world in which we live.

“And, typical of the man, he was giving it his heart and soul along with all those other virtues with which he had become synonymous – total passion, charisma, commitment, leadership and integrity.

“We are struggling to come to terms with his loss and our hearts go out to his immediate family here – Lady Pippa, Sarah-Jane and James – and to his mother Joyce and family back in New Zealand.”