Ghost Ships

Ghost ShipA ghost ship, also known as a phantom ship, is a ship with no living crew aboard; it may be a ghostly vessel in folklore or fiction, or a real derelict found adrift with its crew missing or dead under unknown circumstances. The term is sometimes used for ships that have been decommissioned but not yet scrapped.

It’s the stuff of maritime legend! A vessel sighted, hailed without response and then boarded with no sign of captain or crew.

Flying Dutchman

This Dutch “man of war” owned by the Dutch East India Company was rounding the treacherous Cape of Good Hope when it encountered a storm. Rather than head for safe harbour, the captain maintained his heading. The ship vanished into the storm, never to be seen again… or was it?

Many have claimed to see the Flying Dutchman, including the future King George V of England while aboard a Royal Navy ship off the coast of Australia in 1881. In describing the unexpected apparition, the young prince noted “A strange red light as of a phantom ship all aglow, in the midst of which light the mast, spars and sails of a brig 200 yards distant stood out in strong relief.”

Seeing the Flying Dutchman is apparently not a good thing. According to sailor’s folklore, the appearance of the legendary ship is an omen of impending doom.

Mary Celeste

Wikipedia creative commons
Wikipedia creative commons

This brigantine merchant ship was found in the Atlantic Ocean with its cargo and valuables completely untouched, packed with six months’ worth of food and water but not hide nor hair of a single passenger or crew member. Though its contents were wet and it was a bit worse for the wear, the ship was still seaworthy after being out for just a month. All reasonable explanations from storms to piracy seem were ruled out and has spurred more outrageous theories of alien abduction or sea monster attacks. Today, the fate of the Mary Celeste remains one of history’s most famous and puzzling maritime mysteries.

KAZ II 9.8 catamaran dubbed  “the ghost yacht”

Creative commons
Creative commons

On April 15th, 2007, three men set out on a journey along the coast of Australia,three days later, their vessel turned up drifting toward the Great Barrier Reef with everything perfectly in place, except for the men themselves,who were missing. Food was set out on the table, a laptop was open and still turned on, all of the boat’s emergency systems were fully functional and life jackets hung neatly on their hooks. Since the seas were choppy and none of the men were wearing a life jacket, it’s assumed that one of the men fell overboard and the others perished trying to save him.

Do you have a ghost ship story to tell? If you do we’d love to hear it.

Written by NATIONAL MARITIME COLLEGE

The National Maritime College (NMC) is a Registered Training Organisation providing competency-based boat training and education. The College offers boat licence and jet ski (PWC) licence courses and tests designed to improve boating skills and awareness. You can expect friendly and professional training from from us. It is the "personal touch" and dedication to improving safety on the water whilst instilling - confidence, knowledge and good boat handling skills that sets us apart.