The Mary Celeste

By | Nov 5, 2013

On November 5, 1872 the Mary Celeste set sail from New York harbor. It was loaded with 1,709 barrels of grain alcohol and bound for Genoa, Italy.

The Captain was Benjamin S. Briggs with a crew of seven (First Mate Albert G. Richardson, 2nd Mate Andrew Gilling, Steward & Cook Edward Head, and seamen Volkert Lorenson, Arian Martens, Boy Lorenson and Gotlieb Gondeschall) Also on board was Brigg’s Wife Sarah and their two year old daughter Sophia.

The Mary Celeste initially didn’t get to far since it was forced to anchor off Staten Island. There were heavy seas and they waited two days for them to grow calmer.

A month later on December 5th it was seen half way between the Azores and the Portuguese coast. The ship was yawing and appeared out of control. Captain Morehouse, master of the Dei Gratia, boarded the Mary Celeste to find the vessel in good seaworthy condition and the general impression was that the crew had left in a great hurry. Captain Morehouse’s explanation was that they had left in panic thinking the vessel to be sinking. Two important seagoing instruments,the chronometer and sextant were not found on board. The last log entry showed that on November 25th they had been at the island of St Mary.

What happen to the crew and passengers of the Mary Celeste? Two theories are that the ship experience either a Sea Quake or a Water Spout, although the water spout theory is generally not thought to be viable. The crew were either swept off, or since the chronometer and sextant was gone, they abandoned ship, possibly with a belief that the alcohol would catch fire and burn the ship.

But even though theories may become accepted due to modern research, no one will know exactly what happen during that voyage of the Mary Celeste.


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