Explorers on the RV Southern Surveyor undiscovered Sandy Island between Australia and New Caledonia.

Chief scientist, Maria Seton, and her crew aboard the RV Southern Surveyor sailed past where Sandy Island should be, but they found nothing but blue ocean.

They became suspicious when the navigation charts used by the ship showed a depth of 1400 metres in an area where scientific maps and Google Earth showed the existence of a large island.

The missing island has regularly appeared in scientific publications since at least 2000.

The weather maps on board the ship also showed an island in this location.

Neither the French government - the invisible island would sit within French territorial waters if it existed - nor the ship's nautical charts, which are based on depth measurements, had the island marked on their maps.

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