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Type: Merchant Brigantine
A trans-Atlantic trade vessel, the fate of the Mary Celeste is one of the greatest maritime mysteries of all time.
Discovered unmanned in the Atlantic Ocean heading (on-course) for Gibraltar, the ship was in a sea-worthy condition and still had ample food and water supplies. Her cargo was untouched and the possessions of the crew were all accounted for, yet the ten-man crew and a single lifeboat were never seen again.
With no signs of piracy, mutiny, or violence, the ship was towed to port and subjected to structural analysis which found no damage.
Fate: The 'cursed' ship eventually switched hands 17 times in 13 years before an attempted scuttling was made in order to commit insurance fraud. Despite surviving this attempt, the Marie Celeste was eventually cast adrift and presumed sunk off the coast of Haiti.
Ghost Ship (2002)
Type: Cargo Ship
A cargo steamer that traded pelts with the Alaskan Inuit community, the SS Baychimo was repeatedly abandoned after becoming trapped in pack ice. The crew eventually lost sight after a storm ripped her from the ice and she was presumed sunk.
However, repeated sightings by locals led to the re-discovery of, and cargo retrieval from, the ship, before she was abandoned permanently.
The Baychimo was spotted for the final time in 1969, 38 years after her initial abandonment, wedged once again into Arctic ice.
Fate: Not seen since 1969, presumed sunk.
Type: Passenger Steamship
On her third voyage between Australia and England, the Waratah made a scheduled stop in Durban, South Africa, whereupon a single passenger disembarked. She set sail for Cape Town with a full complement of 211 passengers and crew and was allegedly sighted twice by other ships in the area, but the Waratah never reached its destination and has never been found since.
The disembarked passenger, an experienced seaman and engineer, complained that he felt uneasy at the 'top-heaviness' of the ship, and upon hearing of it's apparent demise, testified to seeing a "vision of a man with a long sword in peculiar dress. He was holding the sword in his right hand and it was covered in blood".
Fate: Despite multiple attempts to locate the ship (even as recently as 2004), no trace of the Waratah has ever been found.
The Bermuda Triangle (1978)
Carroll A. Deering
Type: Commercial Schooner
A last minute change of captain precluded the last voyage of the Deering, which was due to sail from Virginia to Rio, through the now notorious Bermuda Triangle. After making several scheduled stops, she was found run aground and abandoned off the coast of North Carolina.
Several eye-witnesses testified of an ill-feeling between the new captain, his first mate, and the rest of the crew as the men slandered each other when on shore-leave along the route. A puzzling confrontation between the Deering and a Lightship, in which the crew appeared to be in breach of maritime protocol, added to the mystery.
Mutiny, piracy and tropical storms have been blamed for the mystery, yet no official cause of the crew's disappearance has been documented.
Fate: A salvage attempt failed to rescue the ship, which was instead scuttled using explosives soon after its discovery.
City of Joy (1992)
Type: Merchant Vessel
The Joyita was intended to make a short 48 hour voyage between Samoa and Tokelau, but never reached its intended destination and left no distress signal. Following a fruitless search, the ship was given up for lost until it was spotted five weeks later, adrift, partially submerged and crew-less, over 600 miles from her intended route.
Investigators noticed a curious state on board, which included: the radio being tuned to the international distress frequency, the ship's engines being covered in mattresses, blood-stained bandages amongst the medical supplies and over four-tonnes of cargo missing.
Due to the ship's design, she was considered extremely unlikely to sink thanks to a hull fitted with cork and a cargo of empty fuel drums. Despite this the crew chose to abandon ship, and all life-rafts were missing.
Fate: The Joyita was salvaged and sold to new owners, but after repeatedly running aground and developing a reputation as an unlucky ship, her owners beached, abandoned and stripped the hulk.
Adventure in Denmark (1973)
Type: Five-masted Barque
The Copenhagen was used as a naval training vessel and became the world's largest sailing ship when she was laid down in 1913. The ship's final voyage took place between Buenos Aires and Melbourne, and a dispute at port meant setting sail without any cargo on board.
The ship exchanged a single "all is well" message with another ship 8 days after departure, and was never heard from again. Two years after the disappearance, continued sightings of a ghostly five-masted vessel were reported in the Pacific, suggesting she may still be afloat. Finally, wreckage bearing the name 'København' was found on the Western Shore of Australia, and an alleged diary (preserved in a bottle) of a crewman was found in the South Atlantic, suggesting the ship had been sunk by an iceberg.
Fate: No other wreckage was ever found, though a lifeboat containing human remains was found buried on the South-West coast of Africa in 1935, which were speculated to be from the stricken vessel.
Type: Cargo Schooner
The Zebrina was scheduled to deliver coal to France from the relatively short distance of England, but two days after raising anchor, was found abandoned and beached in Cherbourg. No supplies, cargo or signs of struggle existed, but the crew were nowhere to be found and never seen again.
It has been speculated that a German U-Boat may have kidnapped the crew before intending to sink the vessel, but were disturbed in the process and subsequently sunk themselves.
Fate: The Zebrina was taken back to England and broken up some years later.
Type: LASH Carrier
Departing from Germany to the United States in 1972, the München was making her 62nd trans-Atlantic voyage. On the morning of December 13th, the ship's radio officer casually reported bad weather and minor damage to the vessel. Three hours later, distress signals were picked up by other ships in the area as well as incorrect positional coordinates.
Fragmentary Morse Code signals were then detected as far away as Belgium before an international search effort began. Eventually several empty life rafts were discovered, but no wreckage and no human remains.
Fate: It has been speculated that the ship was battered by a tremendous force, thought to be a 'freak wave', which led to the sinking.
I Aim at the Stars (1960)
High Aim 6
Type: Fishing Vessel
The High Aim 6 was discovered drifting in Australian waters with the entire crew missing. Most of the crew's personal effects were still on board, yet a smell from the lower-decks led the discoverers of the ship to believe that this had been a botched illegal immigration attempt. Instead, the holds were found to contain rotting fish.
Curiously, a mobile phone registered to the ship's engineer was seen to have been used since the discovery of the ship. After it was traced the user testified that the captain and engineer had been murdered and that the rest of the crew had simply all abandoned ship and gone back home. He gave no motive for the crime.
Fate: A year after it was beached it was dismantled and sent to a local landfill site.
Jeni, Juno (2005)
Type: Mythical Schooner
The unsubstantiated story of Jenny suggests that the Schooner became entangled and then frozen in ice at Drake's Passage in the Antarctic.
Seventeen years later the ghost ship was discovered by a whaling vessel, who upon boarding found the remains of the captain, preserved and frozen in his chair (pen still in hand) over the final entry in the log book:
"May 4, 1823. No food for 71 days, I am the only one left alive".
Fate: The bodies of the crew were buried at sea, and an account of the ship's demise passed on to the Admiralty. An area of King George Island in the Antarctic was named after Jenny in the 1960s.
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