Boots hit the rusty deck as the naval officers boarded, quickly breaking up in groups and beginning to search it. Their commanding officer told them to keep an eye out for something since the ship had shown up in such strange circumstances. You had to find out what was going on.
After the Navy thoroughly searched the ship, they could not find a soul on board. The ship itself had disappeared over a decade ago, and something was hanging on the front.
Two fishermen were going about their normal lives when they saw something in the distance off the coast of the Yangon region of Myanmar. It was the morning of August 30, 2018, and they were expecting to have a normal day on the water.
The men jumped up when they saw a ghostly figure appear on the horizon. Ships never went through there, there was no shipping route. Maybe not one that has been used for over a century.
On the way to the crash
Their surprise grew worrying when they realized that all it was was coming right at them. You had to act quickly.
They climbed onto the deck of their small boat and tried desperately to maneuver it out of the way of the huge ship. They called the coast guard but they couldn’t help but get there.
The Coast Guard decided to call the police, who called the Navy. The departments all come to the beach and stare in amazement at the sight before them.
This wasn’t a Burmese ship. The Sam Ratulangi was not a household name and no one had ever reported him missing. The ship itself appeared to be in good shape, but that made the fact that there were no crew members on board that made it even stranger.
Regional MP U Ne Win from Thongwa told reporters for the Myanmar Times, “No crew or cargo was found on the ship. It was quite a mystery how such a large ship appeared in our waters. “
They had conveniently left out a crucial detail found on the ship. The clue they found pointed them in the direction that was happening to the ship, and it hung right off the side.
The Sam Ratulangi was built in 2001 and was 580 feet long. It was a large container ship that originally sailed under Indonesian colors. The maiden voyage began in the same year.
For eight years, it traveled across the ocean, transporting cargo to where it was needed. Then how did it get lost at sea? And how did it get to Myanmar after ten years without a caption?
Something is missing
The manifest found on the ship indicates that its last voyage was in 2009. The officer read it again, he couldn’t believe it had been more than a decade. He could feel a knot twist in his stomach.
What helped investigators better understand what, between 2009 and a decade later, when it invaded the fishermen almost directly, was that the two cables were hanging uselessly on the ship.
The action continues
The cables indicated something was missing, so investigators searched around where the ship was found and, in fact, a tug called Independence was found nearly 100 kilometers from the ship.
When the Navy decided to board the tug, it was far from boarding the “ghost ship”. There were 13 crew members on board the Independence. What made things even more confusing, however, was the fact that the tug was flying a Singaporean flag when the crew members were Indonesians. Still, maybe they had information about the Sam Ratulangi?
Although the crew had their own people on board, the Indonesian government informed the Navy that it was a merchant ship. Muhammad Iqbal, the director of the Civil Protection Department, insisted that the ship had nothing to do with the government.
Still, the navy was curious about the men in the tug. What did they do? But soon they got answers.
The riddle solved?
They brought the men in and interrogated them. The men spilled everything and told the navy that the tug was hauling the Sam Ratulangi. His goal? A factory in Bangladesh.
The tug had some problems on the way and extremely bad weather had led to the towing cables breaking in the storm and the “ghost ship” going to the beach.
The Independence tug’s owner is believed to be from Malaysia, although it remains a mystery how exactly he came across the Sam Ratulangi and what happened to its original crew.
Bangladesh is known for its shipping industry. Hundreds of old merchant ships are dismantled every year in Chittagong, despite the controversy over bad regulations and dangerous labor practices. The investigation continues.
The Sam Ratulangi is not the first “ghost ship” to appear recently. Several boats were brought to the coast of Japan, presumably North Korean boats going too far in search of fish.
Losing something as big as a boat certainly shouldn’t be that easy. But perhaps it is simply evidence of the extent and the dangerousness of the oceans they roam.