Mysterious Ghost Ship Appearance



On August 27th, a wandering cargo ship was found by fishermen in the Gulf of Martaban.


The navy identified it as the Sam Rataulangi PB 1600. The 177-metre-long boat is a container ship that was built in 2001. The authorities haven’t found the owner yet but they are believed to be from Indonesia since the boat was registered there.


”The rusty cargo ship was in rough but working order, although there were no traces of a crew on board.”, said the Burmese officials.


The 17-year-old ship was discovered near the capital of Myanmar, Yangon. According to Marine Traffic, a website recording the activity of all the ships in the world, the vessel was last seen in Taiwan on June 3rd 2009. It drifted almost a decade before being found.


The ship was “stranded on the beach bearing an Indonesian flag,” said the police.

The Burmese navy started investigating the mysterious appearance of the ship. They suspected that the freighter had been towed by a salvage boat due to the two cables attached at its front. They later found a tugboat near the place they discovered the vessel and they tracked down the crew to interrogate them. The 13 Taiwanese admitted that they towed the cargo and tried to bring it to a ship-breaking factory in Bangladesh to dismantle it. It obviously didn’t turn out like they wanted when the cables broke and the craft was cut loose.


Ghost ships are a very recurring thing to see in Asia, particularly in Japan. In 2017, 99 vessels washed up on the Japanese beaches carrying in total 31 corpses and 42 survivors.  It quickly concerned the government. Some speculations stated that they are North Korean ships used to fish king crabs, squids and sandfish. Those crafts are sailed by people in desperate need of food. Their immediate need to feed often force them to navigate in bad temperatures.


Written by: Alice Gagnon

Edited by: Madeline Ratté and Évelyne Tremblay