The enigmatic case of Mary Celeste: the ship that was found sailing empty and adrift in the Atlantic Ocean

The enigmatic case of Mary Celeste: the ship that was found sailing empty and adrift in the Atlantic Ocean
The enigmatic case of Mary Celeste: the ship that was found sailing empty and adrift in the Atlantic Ocean

The Mary Celeste was found adrift on December 5, 1872

He Mary Celeste It is one of the most enigmatic cases in maritime history. and continues to baffle experts since its discovery adrift on December 5, 1872. The ship, which had set sail from New York bound for Genoa on November 7 of the same year, was found empty by the crew of the Canadian ship Dei Gratia. The Canadian captain David Morehouse and his first officer Oliver Deveau They identified the Mary Celeste, but noticed that it was uninhabited.

The boat set sail under the command of the captain Benjamin Briggs, accompanied by his wife Sarah, his daughter Sophia and seven sailors. In a letter written before the voyage, Briggs expressed optimism about the condition of the ship and the planned route. “Our ship is in a beautiful state and I hope we shall have a good passage,” the captain wrote. However, approximately A month later, the vessel was discovered drifting between the Azores Islands and the coast of Portugal.

The crew mysteriously disappeared, the boat was found uninhabited

Boarding the Mary Celeste, Morehouse found a partially intact but deserted vessel. The sails were in poor condition and some had disappeared. Surprisingly, The crew’s personal belongings remained in their cabins. and the 1700 barrels of alcohol In the cellar they remained undamaged, although the lifeboat was missing. In addition, scattered items were found in the captain’s cabin, including a sheathed sword, but most of the papers and navigational instruments were missing.

Various theories have attempted to explain the disappearance of the Mary Celeste crew. Some suggest riots, natural disasters like tidal waves, and even pirate attacks. The hypothesis of a riot is ruled out due to the absence of signs of violence. Another possibility is that the fear of a riot burst toxic fumes from the stored alcohol led Briggs to order the ship abandoned.

Another relevant investigation was carried out by the documentary maker Anne MacGregor in 2002, who proposed that the broken thorn caused the Mary Celeste to veer 140 kilometres west of its course. MacGregor suggested that debris from pre-voyage repairs may have clogged the water pumps, preventing the removal of water entering through the leaks.

No signs of violence or collision were found on the ship

The merchant brig was taken to Gibraltar by Morehouse, pursuant to maritime law allowing the reward for the rescue of ships. However, this action raised suspicions about his possible intentions, as mentioned in the Quarterly Review in 1931, accusing Morehouse of attacking the Mary Celeste to collect compensation.

Later studies attempted to shed light on the incident, but were never able to provide a definitive answer. what happened to the crewTheories such as attacks by mythological sea creatures and hasty landings that ended in tragedy have been floated, but these are conjectures without conclusive evidence.

The case of the Mary Celeste was also covered in literature and film. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote in 1884 “The Statement of J. Habakuk Jephson”imagining the testimony of a survivor. In Argentine cinema, the film “Mary Celeste” It was released in 1945, starring Pedro López Lagar y Mirtha Legrand.

In 1931 suspicions arose about Captain Morehouse’s intentions.

Previously, in 1935, Béla Lugosi, Shirley Gray and Arthur Margetson starred “The Ghost Ship (The Sailboat of Death)”an English mystery and horror film that tells the story of the Mary Celeste. Directed by Denison Clift, it is one of the first films of Hammer Film Productions.

Official investigations were carried out from December 23, 1872. without finding damage There were no signs of a collision or bad weather on the ship. John Austina ship surveyor, said the ship showed no external damage.

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