Ghost Ship

It went missing for years, but mysteriously ran ashore. Was it another victim of the Devil's Triangle just off Japan or something similar.

How could a ship disappear without trace for 9  years? - S.N.Strutt  14/09/19

On August 30, 2018, out on the tropical shores of the southeast Asian nation of Myanmar in the country’s Yangon Region, a group of local fishermen stood shocked at the sight that had disrupted their usual daily routine. There was a puzzling figure looming on the horizon. 

1. An eerie sight

August 30, 2018: off the coast of the tropical shores of the southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, in the country’s Yangon Region, a group of local fishermen couldn’t believe their eyes. The sight that disrupted their usual daily routine was too unreal to be believed. There was a puzzling figure looming on the horizon. They quickly scrambled to alert the authorities. From what the fishermen could see, the shape drifting towards where they stood along the shore couldn’t have been from this planet. It seemed to be a ship empty of all passengers and life forms, what seemed to be a phenomenon known as a ‘ghost ship’. The fishermen sprang into action. They immediately called the coast guard,the navy and the police, anyone who might be able to help. All of the authorities noticed something very strange when they finally arrived.

2. First Responders

All at once various Burmese authorities descended upon the beach in a swarm of activity. The Coast Guard, Navy and state police squadrons appeared on the scene in order to verify the strange ship’s nature and purpose. But the boat did not give off any signal, and it didn’t respond to any hails. It seemed to be completely abandoned. As they drew near, the Burmese authorities saw that the boat was stuck on a sandbar, leaving it  stranded and unable to move. The military had taken turns keeping watch over the ship, but much to their astonishment, there didn’t seem to be anything to find. They were seemingly unable to detect anyone on board. Further complicating the mystery, no distress call had been sent out whatsoever.

3. Only a few clues

The teams took to the water from the beach to investigate the mystery further. The massive ship remained silent on the sandbar, offering very few clues as to its origins or purpose. But as the military team drew closer to the vessel they could clearly see the words Sam Ratulangi PB 1600 painted on its side. Finally, a clue. The ship a name that they could research. But it was still unknown where this decaying ship came from originally, and how it hadmade its way to Myanmar without a captain or crew? Could it have potentially lost its course during a storm? But how would that explain its emptiness? Conspiracy theories about the ghost ship’s origins ran wild, and many different ghoulish scenarios circulated.

4. Falling apart

News of the bizarre ghost ship quickly circulated throughout the area of Yangon, the country’s largest city, and the Myanmar Navy was drafted for assistance. They returned to the scene and met with the other authorities. The Navy personnel were the only branch of the military most properly equipped to have a close-up look at what remained of the Sam Ratulangi.

They set off for the abandoned hull of the stranded vessel, intent on taking a more detailed inventory. They soon realized that the ship had almost been completely covered by rust and rot. Though it was still functional and had not yet succumbed to the decay, its state of neglect was advanced and clear to their trained eyes. But the mystery went even further: this wasn’t the only aspect of the ship that left them puzzled.

5. Completely empty

Authorities hungry for clues as to why the Sam Ratulangi had run aground and how it had made it unmanned to Myanmar’s shores were gobsmacked by what they discovered upon boarding the ghost ship. U Ne Win, the Yangon regional parliament MP for neighboring Thongwa township, upheld and deepened the mystery of this empty vessel in an interview with The Myanmar Times. According to his statement to the press: “No crew or cargo was found on the ship. It was quite puzzling how such a big ship turned up in our waters.” The marine salvage crews searched the boat from top to bottom, but found absolutely no sign of life onboard. What’s even stranger is that they couldn’t find any clues as to where the crew may have ended up.

6. Humble origins

Scouring the surface of the ghost ship itself had turned up nothing but rusty metal. The investigators went back to research the ship’s history, hoping that it could provide some insights. A little research on the Sam Ratulangi showed that the 177-meter (580-foot) ship was a container ship built in 2001. According to news articles at the time, the ship was sailing under an Indonesian flag. It had made its maiden voyage the same year of its creation, transporting huge amounts of cargo from one side of the world to the other. The ship sailed without stopping for eight years, until one particular voyage seemingly became its last. Could it be that the ship had been drifting aimlessly in the ocean for almost a decade?

7. Final log

The Burmese authorities tirelessly combed through any and all logs made of or about the Sam Ratulangi in an effort to find the last recorded evidence of its whereabouts. Official records demonstrated that the Sam Ratulangi’s last documented voyage took place over nine years ago. At that time, it had been docked in Taiwan, its last known location, in 2009. But after the last known place the ship was docked, there was absolutely no information about the ship’s whereabouts. It seemed that for almost ten entire years, the Sam Ratulangi was trolling the ocean unmanned, unaccounted for and completely under the radar. That is, until it found itself stuck on a sandbar off the coast of Myanmar. But what shores had it seen since then?

8. Reaching a deadend

Myanmar’s complicated coastal geography had finally put an end to the ghost ship’s roaming. Initial reports stated that it was believed that the Sam Ratulangi first had difficulties when it reached the Sittaung River and tried to traverse it. The river’s strong currents and shallow make it a dangerous place for larger trade ships, as it is nearly impossible for them to navigate. Rather than large cargo ships, the lengthy, shallow river is typically used by smaller vessels transporting timber from one side of Myanmar to the other. This is why it was highly unusual for a cargo ship as vast as the Sam Ratulangi to use the passageway. But even with all that mystery, the authorities still didn’t know where the crew had gone.

 9. An unlikely story

 The question of how had such a large ship that had been abandoned ended up in Myanmar was still a mystery to authorities and onlookers alike. The Myanmar media were running wild with the bizarre and yet unexplained appearance of this ghost ship, and locals were left searching for answers that just weren’t there. Not long after the ship was discovered, the authorities revealed a small clue to the public, a morsel of information that could answer just a few of their burning questions and begin the work of unraveling this floating mystery. Although they looked unassuming enough to the amateur eye, two cables were found at the front of the ship and they opened up a major revelation.

10. Potential witnesses

Myanmar Navy’s expert investigators reviewed the radar logs from nine years before, searching for meaning in the murky circumstances surrounding the Sam Ratulangi’s last voyage. Only one thing stood out prominently: they noticed that the Sam Ratulangi had not been alone. It wasn’t only ship traversing the waters just before it had appeared in Myanmar. A small tugboat called The Independence had been sailing close to the Sam Ratulangi before it disappeared, and not by accident. In actual fact, the Independence had been towing the Sam Ratulangi the entire time. If the Burmese Navy could succeed in finding the much tinier Independence, maybe its crew who had been on board could shed some light on the ghost ship’s history.

11. Searching for independence

The Myanmar Navy managed to find The Independence. It was located a mere 50 miles away from the Burmese coast. Once they reached the ship’s crew, they questioned the 13 members of the crew about the working history of their ship and its mission with the Sam Ratulangi. As the Navy suspected, there was indeed a strong connection between the two vessels. The Independence’s crew members decided to cooperate with the authorities. They had been on duty tugging the large cargo ship via their tinier vessel. When they encountered a patch of turbulent weather, they had been compelled to change their intended course. This was this shift that the Navy had been looking for. It might help explain the Sam Ratulangi’s current predicament and state.

12. Cast out

According to the Independence’s crew members, their tugboat had been pulling the Sam Ratulangi before it had made its mysterious appearance on a sandbar in central Myanmar. They had been sailing to a factory in Bangladesh. Here, the Sam Ratulangi was intended to be unloaded and dismantled. However, when the larger ship separated from the smaller one, the Sam Ratulangi drifted away from the tugboat and was carried out into the waters of the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Myanmar. While this served to explain how the ship got where it was found in the river, the fate and whereabouts of the ghost ship’s crew needed solving. And in September 2018, investigators allegedly found the answer.

13. Abandon ship

Reports stated that officials investigating the trajectory of the alleged ‘ghost ship’ made another strange discovery among many odd anecdotes surrounding the beached vessel. In their estimation, the crew of the Sam Ratulangi had abandoned the ship after it found itself caught in the patch of bad weather. However, this was only a theory, and it only generated more questions than answers. What happened to the Sam Ratulangi’s crew remains a great mystery and authorities across the world are still waiting and searching for clarification. After seeking to understand the scope of all that the abandoned ship had been through, the ongoing investigation revealed another discovery about the ghost ship even more incredible than the last.

14. Fully functional

One would think that after having had no upkeep and having suffering so much neglect floating around abandoned, the Sam Ratulangi would have been a useless shell and completely unable to function. Yet even though the ship had been completely abandoned and had been floating  undetected for nearly a decade and entirely empty, the vessel had one more surprise for investigative team. After it was discovered stranded on a sandbar in the Yangon Region in Myanmar, the ship was described as still being in working condition! So there was still the question of why was the Sam Ratulangi being hauled to Bangladesh to be used for scrap metal in the first place? And even stranger, how had the smaller vessel, The Independence, come across it and received its work assignment to bring it there?

15. Not in bad shape

 Ships as large as the Sam Ratulangi generally have a life expectancy of around 25-30 years. But the Sam Ratulangi was well below its expiration date. Despite this, the two cables found affixed to the front of the vessel seemed to indicate that there had been multiple attempts to tow it away. Because of the ship’s relative youth, taking it away to be dismembered for scrap metal rather than refurbishing it and putting it back into action didn’t quite add up to investigators. In the case of the Sam Ratulangi, there had to have been something terribly wrong with the ship that it would have been sent off to the junkyard for spare parts and materials at this time in its life.

16. Avoiding responsibility

There had to have been some financial incentive for the crew of The Independence to hurry on their way to Chittagong, Bangladesh in an attempt to get rid of the Sam Ratulangi. No one from the crew or the international community was claiming ownership over the ghost ship, and rushing it to the scrapyard meant that it would no longer be anyone’s responsibility. It seemed that someone wanted it gone as quickly as possible. Pulling found ships apart for scrap metal is the ultimate act of recycling, with every nut and bolt being repurposed and used. However, while it may seem like the act of dismantling a ship is the right thing to do, the process remains unregulated and lots of factories don’t operate in ethical ways. Many of the workers dissembling the ships can be hurt or maimed without proper protection or compensation. But this wasn’t the fate of the Sam Ratulangi, so what became of the cargo ship after it washed up off the coast of Myanmar?

17. In good hands

While the mystery surrounding this alleged ghost ship has yet to be solved, the Sam Ratulangi is now in safe hands. Until the cargo ship’s chronology and the circumstances surrounding its disappearance are crystal clear and made known to the authorities, it will be staying under the capable protection of the Myanmar Navy. The Burmese Navy is hoping that over the next coming months of the investigation, they will be able to further understand exactly what went down on the cargo ship. They are hoping to be able to answer all of the many difficult questions surrounding its missing crew, the absent cargo, and, above all else, how exactly it disappeared off the charts for nearly ten years.

18. Eerie shapes on the high seas

While the story of Sam Ratulangi PB 1600 and its unexplained voyage to the shores of Myanmar has shocked and confused people across the world unfamiliar with the world of sailing, the vessel isn’t the only one of its kind to mysteriously appear in the waters of Southeast Asia in recent years. There are plenty of similar cases across the Western Pacific, but often with far more dire and painful results. The phenomenon is particularly common In Japan, and the frequency of ghost ships popping up on shore increased far more than once in recent years. Many, many times, boats have washed up on the shores of the island nation, almost all of which have been identified as originating in North Korea. All of them are empty, and the missing passengers are presumed to be either fishermen cast adrift, or political defectors.

19. The dark truth

The tale of Indonesian ghost ship Sam Ratulangi may have been creepy, but the beaching and abandonment of North Korean ghost ships on Japanese shores are often truly tragic events and sometimes even horrifying. Sadly, whether they are lost fishermen or political asylum seekers, in many of these cases the crews of these abandoned vessels don’t survive. While many are presumed dead, there are still many questions about what they were doing and how they got there. There have been at least 76 recorded cases of fishing vessels appearing on Japanese beaches alone. One fascinFating case in particular stood out from the rest. What made it so amazing is that its crew somehow miraculously survived the journey.

20. Lone survivors

The vast majority of the boats leaving from North Korea and arriving on Japanese shores often contain a grim cargo: the bodies of its crew or passengers. But one particular incident from November 2017 managed to change this narrative. Police in Akita Prefecture came across a beached boat on Japan’s northern coast, and  discovered eight North Korean men, all of whom had survived the journey. Whether these vessels drifted to Japan by accidents of nature or whether they’re part of a wave of asylum seekers trying to escape their country’s uncertain political situation is as yet unknown. The Japanese press ran amok with theories, with some claiming the North Korean men were even spies. However, like the mysterious account of the Sam Ratulangi, time and continued research are the only things that will provide more answers.

Author: Steve: In looking into these mysteries - it never ceases to make me laugh - how stupid the explanations that are put forth by both skeptics and unbelievers. When something is both UNBELIEVABLE & UNEXPLAINABLE there are many people who try to explain it all away scientifically but using only our physical senses.

The problem is there is more than just our DIMENSION and the BERMUDA TRIANGLE & THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE are just two examples of DIMENSIONAL SHIFTING. See the Devil's Triangle in my book:






Latest comments

22.11 | 21:01

There is no KINDLE version for my book JUBILEES INSIGHTS only the paperback.

20.11 | 23:30

It would appear there is a bit of an oversight with regard to your "Jubilees" book in kindle. I can't find a trace of it.

13.11 | 09:04

Here is more exact info about my 9 books:

13.11 | 08:19

Dear Linda, This link will show the first 8 books:

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