Burma Solves Mystery of 580-Foot ‘Ghost Ship’

Simon Veazey
By Simon Veazey
September 1, 2018World News

A 580-feet long, 18,000 tonne, “ghost ship” baffled authorities in Burma after it drifted on to the shore with no crew or goods on board.

The Sam Ratulangi PB 1600’s last recorded location was off the coast of Taiwan in 2009, but it mysteriously appeared drifting along in Burmese waters earlier this week, before running aground on Aug. 30.

On Sept. 1, the Burmese Navy announced they had solved the mystery.

Burmese authorities had been monitoring the ship since it was spotted earlier in the week.

A search of Marinetraffic.com, which logs the movement of all ships around the world, reveals it was a container ship built in 2001 in Indonesia, 580 feet long and capable of transporting over 8,000 tonnes.

When it finally ran aground on a sandbar in the Yangon region, Burmese authorities were able to board and investigate.

They found no crew on board, no goods, and no evidence of liferafts or lifeboats having been deployed.

A view from the deck of the Sam Ratulangi PB 1600 after it was found drifting in Burmese waters on Aug. 30, 2018. (Yangong Police/Facebook)
A view from the deck of the Sam Ratulangi PB 1600 after it was found drifting in Burmese waters on Aug. 30, 2018. (Yangong Police/Facebook)

But they found evidence that two tow lines had been used, and so began to investigate tugboats in the region.

50 miles away, they tracked down a tugboat called the Independence, whose crew confirmed their suspicions.

The cargo ship was being towed to a ship-breaking factory in Bangladesh. But when they ran into bad weather, the two tow lines with the ship broke.

The 13 Indonesian crew members told authorities they had been towing the vessel since Aug. 13, their destination a factory in neighboring Bangladesh that would dismantle and salvage the ship.

Hundreds of old commercial vessels are dismantled in Bangladesh each year.

Whilst this might have been the first time that Burma had encountered a “ghost ship,” in Japan they have become a more regular occurrence.

Boats with dead bodies have regularly washed up on Japanese shores in recent years, thought to be from North Korea.

Last December, Business Insider reported that at least 40 corpses from around 15 boats had washed up along Japan’s west coast in the previous month.

Although authorities have not been able to definitively establish the nationalities of the bodies, evidence points to them being people fleeing the communist state of North Korea.

From The Epoch Times

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