Jan 20 2016

14 Mysterious Abandoned Ships

There is something mysterious and disturbing about abandoned ships. Whether its the mystery of what actually happened to the people on board that is making you feel uneasy or what caused the abandonment. These are 14 of the most mysterious abandoned boats of all time.

14. S.S. Carroll A. Deering


While on returning to Maine from Rio de Jenairo in 1921 the S.S. Carroll A. Deering mysteriously ran aground on January 31 on Diamond Shoals, NC. The 11-man crew was not aboard. The beginning of the voyage seemed to go well with a stopover in Barbados on January 9. Later the ship was spotted off Cape Lookout Lightship, NC. The crew at that time communicated with the captain of another ship that the Deering had lost all anchors and to please pass this along to the Deering Company. When found two days later, the ship was run hard ashore with the sails set and lifeboat cables hanging to the side. No member of the crew was ever found.

13. Pibroch

boat pib

Abandoned at a jetty in Letterfrack, Connemara, this giant fishing vessel has become a local landmark. Built in Glasgow in 1956 and sailed originally as a cargo ship. Later used for fishing, the fishing gears can still be found on deck. J.A. Hawco of Glasgow appears to have abandoned the ship for unknown reasons, sometime around 1990. Locals speculate the ship was left to die due to the decline in the once booming fishing industry.

12. San Francisco Bay Abandoned Ships


Many visitors to San Francisco are completely unaware of the colorful history of what was once known as the Barbary Coast. During the Gold Rush of 1849, there was no railroad line that led to San Francisco. Many people looking to make their riches from striking gold arrived by ship. Numerous vessels were left to rot as their crews also succumbed to the lure of the Gold Rush. So many abandoned and sunken ships clogged the Bay it was no wonder that the area was susceptible to fires. Eventually the decay was filled in and later became enclosed and built on top of. Over the years modern buildings under construction have unearthed these ship remains.

11. Mothball Fleet

ship abandoned

Located in Suisun Bay, northeast of San Francisco retired Navy and Merchant ships called the “Mothball Fleet” are kept. Ships that have served in 4 wars are housed with this fleet. Retired and stripped of all essential equipment, the ships are kept here until deemed ready for scrap. Although there have been times ships from the Mothball Fleet have been called back to duty, for the past 10 years the number have dwindled as they are towed off one by one for scrap. By 2017 all of the ships should be gone.

10. Bel Amica


Discovered abandoned on August 24, 2006 off the coast of Sardinia, the Bel Amica was considered by most to be a “ghost ship”. When the Italian Coast Guard boarded the ship they found partially eaten meals, piles of clothes and a flag of Luxembourg. Considered a “classic style” schooner, the ship had never been seen or recorded as having visited Italy before. The owner was later located. He advised he left the ship anchored to go home to Luxembourg for a personal emergency. Authorities believe his motive may have had something to do with avoiding taxation of luxury vessels.

9. S. S. Baychimo


In October 1931, the Baychimo was on a routine run from Alaska to Vancouver with a cargo of furs the ship was caught in choppy seas and a blizzard. The Baychimo became trapped by ice flows. The captain ordered the crew to abandon ship and go by foot to a nearby town. Breaking free on several occasions and floating around for a number of years, recovery attempts failed and the ship was lost for 23 years. In 1961 stories again began to surface about the Baychimo being spotted floating around. Last known to be frozen in an ice flow in 1969 it is widely believed the ship has finally been claimed by the icy waters.

8. S.S. American Star


Once hailed the most beautiful ocean liner ever to fly the U.S. flag, the S.S. American Star ran aground off Fuerteventura in 1994. Starting as a troop transport ship in 1940 and later being converted to a luxury ocean liner, the S.S. American Star has become one of the most famous abandoned shipwrecks in the world.

7. Yellow Submarine


The Yellow Submarine long thought to be a rumor was built Jerry Biano. Biano’s goal was to use the ship to salvage the lost treasures of the sunken Andrea Doria. Launched in Coney Island Creek in 1970, the submarine never sailed. The crane operator ignored instructions to lower the submarine partially into the water. When lowered completely into the water the sub listed severely to one side and could never be launched. Unable to raise the money to recover the submarine it languished at its moorings until breaking loose in 1981 and resting where is sits today.

6. Jian Seng


The abandoned tanker Jian Seng was found mysteriously floating off the coast of Australia in 2006. At the time of discovery the ship name was unknown, as it had been painted over. After boarding the ship no papers identifying the ship were found and no sign of a crew either. The ship appeared to be stripped and may have been adrift for a long period of time. The owner was never identified and the ship was later sunk to become an artificial reef.

5. High Aim 6


The High Aim 6 left a port in Taiwan in October 2002. In January of 2003 the ship was found drifting in Australian waters without its crew. The last contact made with the ship was in December 2002. There was plenty of fuel and supplies and no signs of a struggle were evident. All of the crew’s personal belongings were found on board. Only one member of the crew was ever tracked down and admitted that the captain and engineer had been murdered in an act of mutiny. The motive for the mutiny has never been made clear.


4. MV Joyita


Found adrift in the South Pacific in 1955 with none of the 25 passengers or crew aboard, the MV Joyita is one of the great mysteries of the sea. The ship left Samoa with a cargo of medical supplies, timber and 80 45-gallon drums of oil, various foodstuffs, a crew of 16 and 9 passengers. The Joyita was found 600 miles off course not only missing the passengers and crew but also 4 tons of cargo. The bilges and lower decks of the boat were flooded, however the hull was sound. It is believed the boat’s cooling system failed and the boat began to take on water, unable to pump out the water due to clogged bilge pumps the crew and passengers abandoned ship. Some believe the crew, passengers and cargo were rescued and then dispatched in a nefarious fashion.


3. The World Discoverer

world dis

The American Discoverer was a large cruise ship with a cruising career that started in 1974. Primarily cruising the southern hemisphere, the American Discoverer was the first ship ever allowed to travel the Northwest Passage. Late in April of 2000 the ship struck a large rock or reef in the Solomon Islands. A distress signal was sent and the passengers and crew were evacuated to safety. As the captain guided the ship into Roderick Bay for recovery, it began to list. The captain purposely grounded the ship to save it from sinking. After extensive underwater surveying of the damage, the World Discoverer was deemed to be a complete loss. The ship has remained where grounded that day ever since.


2. Mary Celeste


The Mary Celeste was found abandoned and adrift in the Atlantic Ocean in 1872. When found the ship was under partial sail and with the lifeboat missing. Appearing to be seaworthy and with none of the personal belongings of the crew missing or cargo gone, there appeared to be no reason to abandon ship. No one known to be onboard the ship at the time of this trip was ever seen or heard from again. Making the story of the Mary Celeste one of the greatest sea mysteries in the last 100 years.


1. Kaz II


The Kaz II was first spotted by a helicopter drifting in the vicinity of the Great Barrier Reef. On 20 April, maritime authorities caught up with the boat and boarded it. They found the three-man crew missing in circumstances, which they described as being “strange”. Food and flatware were set out on the table, a laptop computer was set up and turned on, and the engine was still running. According to the forensic investigation, the three passengers fell overboard one after the other starting with trying to untangle a fishing line.