Top 10 ghost ships

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Updated on 11 May, 2012 at 10:08 am


Better known as the legendary monsters of the sea, these mystifying ghosts ships have earned a huge level of popularity among historians and ghost hunters. There are numerous oceanic fibs and reasons, such as unfavourable weather, starvation, sickness, spiritual activities and whatever. The one sure fact is that they are surrounded by deep mystery and intrigue. This post of TopYaps is describing high level of paranormal activities and seafaring lore, concerning vessels and nautical world.

10. Baychimo:

Originally known as Angermanelfven, this Swedish cargo ship was built in 1914 and became famous for completing 9 successful voyages across treacherous and inhospitable areas of Northwestern sea of Canada. On October 1, 1931, Baychimo got stuck in thick layer of ice near Barrow, Alaska. The crew moved in a local area and waited for the appropriate time to move beyond. The crew was back on board after waiting for two days and once again propelled the journey. Unfortunately, on October 8, it was once again trapped in pack ice. On October 15, the shipping company sent aircraft to retrieve 22 from the crew of 37 whereas other members took a shelter some distance away to move out with ship, once again. It was a pitch-black night of November 24 when the ship vanished beneath a gigantic mountain of ice in a deadly blizzard. After realizing the willy-nilly condition of ship, the remaining crew flew back home. As the days went by, Baychimo was sighted again and again by explorers and travellers in different parts of hellish sea. Every time it was noticed floating peacefully enough but whenever people attempted to drift it back in civilization, it was always stopped by terrific blew up of storms. It’s ultimate fate is still unknown because after the last sighting in 1969, it has been never seen again.

9. Jian Seng:

Where it came from and who was the owner of this 80-meter tanker is still a wide subject of mystery. In March 2006, Jian Seng was spotted in the Gulf of Carpentaria by an aircraft of Australian Coastwatch. Right after its recognition, Storm Bay, an Australian Customs patrol boat was dispatched to gather information about this abandoned ship, floating freely in uncharted waters. There was no sign of humans on the ship but it was comprising a massive quantity of rice.  Its engine was unserviceable and there were no evidences about registration and origin port of this ship. Since Australian Government was incapable to locate the possessor, this ghost ship was eventually towed and scuttled in deep water of Weipa, Cape York.

8. Octavius:

This ghost ship was discovered on October 11, 1775, by Herald, at the west of Greenland. Herald was a ship, designed for whaling. According to historians, when crew of Herald landed on Octavius, they found everyone dead below deck. Dead bodies of Octavius’ crew were not in so much rotten condition due to extremely frozen environment. Along with the dead bodies of a woman, a boy and a sailor, the captain’s body was resting transfixedly on his chair with a pen in hand. It clearly indicates that captain was busy in writing his log till the moment he died. However, only few pages were recovered safely but they were enough to left everyone openmouthed because the last entry was made on November 11, 1762. Almost 13 years from the day of its recovery. Surprisingly, after its encounter with Herald, it was never seen again.


7. MV Joyita:

This luxury yacht was built in 1931 for Roland West, a prominent Hollywood movie director of his time. Later, this ship was purchased by a professor at the University of Hawaii who rendered it to Captain Thomas Miller, a sailor who used this ship as a fishing boat. With a disastrous destiny, this ship initiated its journey on October 3, 1955, from Apia harbor with only one engine functioning. Its destination was Tokelau Island which was almost 430 km away from Apia and MV Joyita was expected to reach there in 41-48 hours. As it failed to arrive on scheduled time, a massive search operation was launched by Royal New Zealand Air Forces but they failed to get a single clue about missing ship even after exploring 100,000 square miles area of the gigantic ocean. On November 10, MV Joyita was sighted by a merchant ship on approximately 1000 km away from its scheduled route. Crew of 25 was missing from the partially submerged ship. The radio of this ghost ship was tuned to 2182 kHz, the international calling and distress frequency.

6. SS Valencia:

Better known as the “Graveyard of the Pacific,” this ghost ship was built in 1882 and generally served the California–Alaska route. Its final journey started on January 20, 1906, with 108 passengers, 9 officers and 56 crew members. Routed to San Francisco–Seattle, this ship was stuck in a bad weather on January 21, somewhere in Cape Mendocino. The strong icy wind diverted its way and finally on January 22, it collided with a magnanimous rock, lying under the surface of sea. As the ship started sinking, the worst came to trespass the limits of barbarousness.  About 37 passengers managed to escape whereas the rest tossed from ship and were swept away by the horrific waves. Considered as one of the most heart-wrenching disasters in the history of Pacific Northwest, SS Valencia is still believed to sail as a ghost ship near Vancouver Island.

5. Lady Lovibond:

The story of this sailing vessel is encompassed by romance, jealousy and retaliation. As the legend goes, Simon Reed, captain of the Lady Lovibond was busy with crew members in his post marriage celebration on February 13, 1748. According to several accounts, John Rivers, the steerer of ship, was in love with captain’s bride, Annetta. Filled with jealousy and rage, he intentionally steered the vessel into the punic Goodwind Sands, best known for causing ship wrecks. The collision killed everyone almost instantly. There is an old tale that this ghost ship appears after every fifty years nearby Kent. It has been sighted in 1798, 1848, 1898 and in 1948. However, there were no confirmed sighting in 1998 but till the date it is considered as the most babbled ghost ship in Europe.

4. Ourang Medan:

One of the most spine-chilling story in the history of ghost ships, Ourang Medan was a Dutch cargo vessel which was involved in smuggling chemical substances. As the story goes, in June 1947, two American vessels, Silver Star and the City of Baltimore, experienced some undecipherable Morse code from the radio operator of Ourang Medan. The operator accounted the death of its entire crew including ship’s captain and all of its officers. When rescue team of Silver Star boarded on Ourang Medan, they discovered only corpses in terrified postures. Shockingly, there were no signs of external injuries on dead bodies and even the ship was in unharmed condition. But from the expressions on the faces of dead bodies, rescue team concluded that they died in sheer terror. The remaining search of this old fashioned ghost ship ended, when it suddenly exploded while dragging it to the nearest port. It sank in the darkest depth of Pacific, leaving behind stack of mysteries and skeptics for historians.

3. Carroll A. Deering:

This giant schooner was built in 1919 and was named after the son of its owner. On January 28, 1921, while returning to Hampton Roads, Deering was sighted by a lightship in North Carolina. According to Captain Jacobson, lightship’s keeper, a mysterious man from the vessel reported him that Deering had lost its anchor. Jacobson also noted that the crew of vessel was milling around on that part of deck which is generally not allowed for everyone. On January 31, the ship was once again located on the shoals of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. On February 4, a rescue team approached the vessel but there was no sign of human activities on the board. Decks were awash, navigation equipments, lifeboats and log were missing. Bermuda Triangle, pirates or attack of Russians? There are numerous speculations on the historical threads of this ghost ship but still it’s the biggest maritime mystery.

2. Flying Dutchman:

Marking its origination in 17th century, Flying Dutchman relates a ghost ship which is also said to be a mirage, hallucination and an illusion. According to nautical folklore, this phantom-ship can never reach to port and sails constantly in the ocean with unnatural speed. In 1729, Captain Vanderdecken steered this ship towards the Cape of the Good Hope, located in the Atlantic coast of South Africa. Suddenly a storm broke out but stubborn and fearless captain continued his journey and swore an oath that he would reach his destination even if it took him until Doomsday. The ship never reached Cape and there were no signs of well-beingness but till the date it roams in powerful ocean as a ghost ship.


1. Mary Celeste:

On November 5, 1872, this merchant ship started its fateful journey from New York to Genoa. Launched under the command of Captain Benjamin Briggs, this gigantic ship was carrying a monolithic pool of wine and liquors. On December 4, 1872, the captain of “Dei Gratia” sighted a ship about five miles away from their own location. As the search team moved closer, the still-under-sail ship was recognized as the Mary Celeste. The personal belongings and valuables of crew were untouched but the 7 crew members, captain, his wife and daughter were missing from the board. Disappearance of people on board is still a wide subject of mystery. No sign of violence and struggle. People just perished like fume.