A giant container ship was discovered off the coast of Myanmar with no one on board and no clues as to where it came from.
Fishermen found the empty ‘ghost ship’ mysteriously drifting alone near the Yangon region of Myanmar. It eventually ran aground on a beach.
We’re not talking about a little dinghy that’s broken away from its tethering – this rusty ‘ghost ship’ was more than 177 metres (580 feet) long, with no goods on board, no skeletons in its closet and generally no sign of life whatsoever.
Just imagine being a fisherman in your little boat and seeing this huge floater drifting towards you. ‘Where did it come from,’ you think to yourself, ‘and did I bring spare underwear?’
Alas, this wasn’t the work of Captain Jack Sparrow or Davy Jones. In fact, authorities think they’ve figured out where the creepy thing came from.
Navy personnel boarded the ship, discovered to be called the Sam Ratulangi PB 1600 (or Ghosty McGhostface for short), and now believe the boat was on its way to a ship-breaking factory in Bangladesh.
The ship was being towed by a tugboat, however authorities believe the crew abandoned the container ship when they got caught up in bad weather, reports BBC.
According to Marine Traffic, the empty vessel was built in 2001, and its last location was recorded off the coast of Taiwan in 2009.
A tugboat called Independence (not Tuggy McTugface, unfortunately), was found about 80km (50 miles) off Myanmar’s coast.
Ah, the irony of a boat called Independence being used to tow another boat, only to abandon it and forge ahead on its own.
Authorities questioned the 13 crew members of the Independence, who confirmed they had been towing the container ship since August 13. They were on their way to the factory in Bangladesh where it was to be dismantled and salvaged.
However, after running into bad weather, some of the cables towing the boat broke, and the crew decided to abandon poor old Sam Ratulangi PB 1600.
The authorities are currently further investigating the incident.
Though this is thought to be the first time a ‘ghost ship’ has turned up in Myanmar, they are a more common occurrence on the shores of Japan.
The ships are often fishing boats, which drift onto Japan’s western shores from North Korea. Many of the ships often have dead bodies or skeletons on board, hence the ‘ghost ship’ title, though sometimes the crew is still alive.
In November last year, eight fishermen were found alive on a boat at the Yurihonjo marina. They were from North Korea and had apparently run into trouble at sea.
The Japanese coast guard had recently found another boat with 10 men on board, too.
The North Korean boats are often rickety, simple boats with no modern engines or navigation instruments on board, according to BBC News.
Exposure and starvation are usually the cause of death when boats are found with bodies on them.
Though most are likely to be fisherman who have gone off course, it has also been suggested that some are defectors trying to escape North Korea.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.