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Mary Celeste - Ghost Ship

Mary Celeste - Ghost Ship

The Mary Celeste (or Marie Céleste as it is fictionally referred to by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and others after him) was an American brigantine merchant ship famous for having been discovered on 4 December 1872 in the Atlantic Ocean, unmanned and apparently abandoned (one lifeboat was missing, along with its 7 crew), although the weather was fine and her crew had been experienced and capable seamen. The Mary Celeste was in seaworthy condition and still under sail heading toward the Strait of Gibraltar. She had been at sea for a month and had over six months' worth of food and water on board. Her cargo was virtually untouched and the personal belongings of passengers and crew were still in place, including valuables. The crew was never seen or heard from again. The Mary Celeste crew's disappearance is often cited as the greatest maritime mystery of all time.

The Mary Celeste was Originally named "The Amazon", when it was built at the shipyards in Spencer Island in Nova Scotia, Canada in 1861. It was launched in the same year which also happened to be the year when the American Civil War broke out.  

The brigantine Mary Celeste was 31 meters long, 7.6 meters wide and displaced 282 tons of water. However since her launch, she had always been influenced under some evil power.

During her first decade of operations, she was involved in several misadventures and passed through many changes of ownership. It was as if the ship was under the influence of a bad evil. 

Look at the following chronological events:

  • The First master Robert McLellan fell ill and died. 
  • On her maiden voyage commanded by John Parker, the ship suffered a big damage in her hull after running into a fishing dam off the sea. Mary Celeste required major repairs at the shipyards. Later, a fire broke out at the shipyards, terminating Parker’s command. 
  • During her first Atlantic crossing, she collided in the straits of Dover with a two-masted ship which sank. Mary Celeste again required repairs. 
  • Upon her return to America she ran aground off Cow Bay, Nova Scotia. After she was pulled out of the rocks, she continued to change hands between a number of owners. No one made any profit. In fact, some of them went bankrupt. 
  • Finally she was purchased by an American, James Winchester. James bought her at a New York salvage auction for $3,000. She went through extensive repairs and renovation. When she was back again, the ship looked completely different and hardly had any resemblance with 'The Amazon'. Her name was then changed to Mary Celeste

In October 1872, Mary Celeste was made ready on a birth in New York's East River for a voyage to Genoa, Italy. The captain of the ship was Benjamin Briggs aged 37. Briggs’ 30-year old wife Sarah and 2-year-old child were also in the ship. And there were 7 crew making it a total of 10 on board. 

Captain Briggs was a very experienced and able seaman and captained five ships in his career. He himself was an owner of many ships and had spent most of his life on the sea. 

Mary Celeste departed New York City on November 7, 1872. She was carrying a cargo of 1701 barrels of raw commercial alcohol valued at some $35,000 and had full insurance. 

Strangely after almost a month of her sail, on December 4, 1872 a British Empire vessel namedDei Gratia found the Mary Celeste off the coast of Portugal. She apparently looked abandoned although still under sail. There was not a single soul on board. 

So what could have been the cause of such mysterious abandonment? The weather was fine and she had 6 months of food and water. The crew were all very able seamen and trustworthy. Even the personal belongings including valuables were untouched. 

The fate of her crew has been the subject of much speculation. Theories range from alcoholic fumes, to underwater earthquakes, to waterspouts, to paranormal explanations involving extraterrestrial life, unidentified flying objects (UFOs), sea monsters, and the phenomenon of the Bermuda Triangle, although the Mary Celeste is not known to have sailed through the Bermuda Triangle area. The Mary Celeste is often described as the archetypal ghost ship, since she was discovered derelict without any apparent explanation, and her name has become a synonym for similar occurrences. The ship was said to be "cursed" and had a long history of disasters and catastrophes, and three captains died on the ship. The ship was destroyed in 1885 when it was intentionally wrecked off the coast of Haiti in an attempted insurance fraud.

James Winchester considered selling the Mary Celeste after the mysterious events for which she was now notable. His mind was made up when the vessel claimed the life of his father, Henry Winchester-Vinters, who drowned in an accident in Boston, Massachusetts when she was brought back to America. Winchester sold the Mary Celeste at an enormous loss. Over the next 13 years, the ship changed hands 17 times. By then, the Mary Celeste was in very poor condition.

Her last captain and owner, identified as G. C. Parker, made no profit whatsoever and deliberately wrecked the Mary Celeste in an insurance fraud in the Caribbean Sea on January 3, 1885. She was loaded with an over-insured cargo of scrap, including boots and cat food. The plan did not work, as the ship failed to sink after being run on to Rochelais reef off the western coast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti and south of Gonâve Island.[19] Parker then tried to burn the wreck, but even after the fire the vessel remained intact, although the ship's log was destroyed along with Benjamin Briggs' prior entries in it.

Captain Parker was arrested, and put on trial for barratry, or the intentional destruction of a vessel. Despite Parker's acquittal, nearly everyone indicted for actions related to the shipwreck went bust, and Captain Parker himself died three months later. The partially burnt hulk of the Mary Celeste was deemed beyond repair and she was left to eventually slip off the shoal and sink.

On August 9, 2001, an expedition headed by author Clive Cussler (representing the National Underwater and Marine Agency) and Canadian film producer John Davis along with divers from the Nova Scotian company EcoNova announced that they had found the remains of the brigantine where Parker had wrecked her. A detailed magnetometer survey of the bay, off the Isle de Gonâve, revealed that only one shipwreck was present - and that it had run onto Rochelois Reef with great force.

Meril Jeffery John.J

Meril Jeffery John.J

If This is God's Will then no man can Fight it

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