A container vessel disappeared in 2009, and authorities were shocked to see the “ghost ship” reappear nine years later off the coast of Myanmar. Her disappearance and subsequent reappearance were shrouded in mystery.
The ‘ghost ship’ reappears
The container ship, Sam Ratulangi PB 1600, was sailing along the Pacific Ocean in 2009 when she mysteriously disappeared. The last time she was seen, she was sailing off the coast of Taiwan and bearing an Indonesian flag. After all contact with the ship was lost, authorities believed she had been lost to the ocean.
Nine years later, on August 30, 2018, the ship reappeared in the Indian Ocean, wedged along a sandbar located 11 kilometers off the shore of Myanmar. Fishermen from the village Thama Seitta noticed the ship and went to inspect it. What they saw caused them to contact the coastal police.
The Navy came to inspect it
After the coastal police were contacted, they reached out to the Myanmar Navy who arrived at the ghost ship for an inspection. What they came to observe was the same as what the fishermen had seen – nothing. There was no crew, no cargo, and no signs of life anywhere on the ship.
“No crew or cargo was found on the ship. It was quite puzzling how such a big ship turned up in our waters,” said U Ne Win Yangon, a Myanmarese MP. What is most curious about the ship is that she was still in working order when it was found.
Ultimately, the authorities had no idea where she had come from or how she had gotten there.
Theories about where the ship came from
The ship, which was built in 2001, was approximately 177 meters long and 28 meters wide, with a weight of about 26,510 tons. How a ship of this size could randomly appear one morning along the shores of Myanmar remains a mystery, one that has resulted in a lot of speculation.
The General Secretary of the Independent Federation of Myanmar Seafarers, U Aung Kyaw Linn, said, “In my opinion, the ship was recently abandoned. There must be a reason [why she was abandoned].” Theories that the crew fell victim to dangerous waters or even pirates circulated but none were ever verified. Fortunately, answers were to come.
Two cables were found latched to the ship’s head, and authorities discovered a tugboat named Independence about 50 miles off the coast of Myanmar. The 13 Indonesian crew members on board were questioned, and they said the tugboat had been towing the vessel since August 13th. They planned to bring her to a factory in Bangladesh that would dismantle and salvage the ship.
However, when some of the cargo vessel’s cables broke in bad weather, the crew decided to abandon her. Authorities were relieved to finally have some answers to clear up the mystery of the ghost ship.