Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ghost Ship - The Mary Celeste

The story of the Mary Celeste ghost ship is a mystery that may never be solved. The Mary Celeste has baffled people for over 125 years and has become one of the great unsolved mysteries of Maritime History.
The "Mary Celeste", was a 282 gross ton brigantine. She was built by the shipbuilders of Joshua Dewis in 1861 as the ship "Amazon" at the village of Spencer's Island, Nova Scotia, Canada.
The Amazon's first Captain, Robert McLellan, contracted pneumonia nine days after taking command and he died at the beginning of her maiden voyage. He was the first of three captains to die aboard her. John Nutting Parker, the next captain, struck a fishing boat and had to steer her back to the shipyard for repairs. At the shipyard, a fire broke out in the middle of the ship. Her first trans-Atlantic crossing was also disturbing for her next Captain, after she collided with another vessel in the English Channel.
After this awkward beginning the brigantine had six uneventful and profitable years under her Nova Scotian owners. In 1867 the ship ran aground during a storm off Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada. She was salvaged, and sold to Richard Haines of New York. By early 1868, she had been repaired and was transferred to the American registry, and renamed the Mary Celeste.
On November 7th, 1872, the Mary Celeste, set sail from New York City, commanded by Captain Benjamin Briggs. The ship was bound for Italy, with a full cargo - consisting mainly of fine wines and 1100 bottles of pure alcohol. Also on baord was the Captain's wife Sarah, their two year old daughter Sophia Matilda, and a crew of seven men.

Twenty-seven days later, on December 4th, the Mary Celeste was discovered drifting aimlessly in the North Atlantic by the crew of the Dei Grata, also sailing out of New York. Concerned by the Mary Celeste's erratic course and lifeless decks, the Captain of the Dei Grata sent a boarding party to investigate. They encountered nothing but silence.
The Mary Celeste was undamaged. There were no signs of piracy. Doors and windows were left open, and the Captain's and crew's quarters were undisturbed. Coats were still on hooks, coffee cups half full and  tobacco lay ready for smoking on the tables. The Captain, his family and crew had vanished without a trace.
Unable to solve the mystery of the missing crew, some of the sailors from the Dei Grata sailed the vessel to Gibraltar. Even after a judicial hearing, the disappearance of the Captain, his family and crew could not be explained - they were never seen again.

For ten more years, the Mary Celeste continued to sail the North Atlantic, however, she was plagued with misfortune. The owners found it difficult to find a crew for the infamous ghost ship. The ship was said to be "cursed" after a long history of disasters and catastrophes.
In 1885, the Mary Celeste was destroyed when it was intentionally wrecked off the coast of Haiti.
Courtesy of Taabu ......


Red said...

What a string of bad luck! Makes for a very good story.

DJan said...

What a mystery! I do wonder what happened to them. Now I'm off to Google it and learn more about what they don't know. Exciting story of a ghost ship.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed that story a lot. Stories like that are great to hear.


Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Sad but fascinating history of the Mary Celeste which I think I had heard about, but never quite knew the story. Thanks for the info