Nov 24, 2016 I MJ Banias

Ghost Ship Found Off Coast of Vietnam With Lights Still On

On Wednesday, November 16th, Vietnamese authorities towed an abandoned ghost ship to the Phu Ha Port in Phan Thiet City. The 40 meter long vessel was found floating off the coast, still intact, and with the lights left on with no souls aboard.

The boat was identified as the Qiong Lin Yu, and carried the serial number 19007. However, while the the boat bears Chinese markings, the current ownership of the vessel is unknown, as no flags were found to mark a current country of origin. The boat, while rusty, looked to be in good condition, except much of it was stripped before being abandoned.

No drinking water, usable gas or oil, fishing equipment, or personal belongings were aboard; it looks as if the boat was picked over for all valuable gear before being abandoned. While there was initial suspicion of the boat being hijacked or taken by pirates, no signs of blood, damage, or ammunition casings have been found that would indicate a hostile attack.

While many abandoned vessels float around in the oceans, this particular case is quite strange. The boat’s engines indicate that the boat itself has not run in many months, but the mystery of why and how the lights were still on perplexes the Vietnamese authorities.

The ghost ship phenomenon is one of legend, but several other ghost ships were found in recent years in Asian waters.

In February of this year, a 40 foot yacht, the Sayo, owned by German adventurer, Manfred Fritz Bajorat, was discovered floating off the coast of the Philippines. To only make matters more frightening, his mummified corpse was found aboard sitting by the radio phone. He and his yacht had been missing for seven years.

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The remains of Manfred Fritz Bajorat

Between 2012 and 2015, eleven boats were continuously being discovered off the coast of Japan with many bodies in various states of decay. The reason for these wave of ghost ships is unknown, however, some evidence, according to the Japanese authorities, indicates that the dead were allegedly murdered by the North Korean government for attempting to escape the country.

Probably the most famous and hotly contested ghost ship was the Mary Celeste, discovered floating adrift near the Azores in 1872. The merchant ship was found intact, with no signs of any foul play, but with her life boat missing. No signs of the crew have ever been found, and the ship was still provisioned and bore the personal belongings of the crew. It appears as if the crew left the ship in an orderly fashion, and simply vanished into thin air.  

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The Mary Celeste, courtesy of the Smithsonian Magazine.

Ghost ships carry with them a certain feeling, an eeriness akin to the feeling that something, or someone in this case, is missing. Finding death aboard a ship brings finality to the story, an ending that wraps it up. However, finding a large boat with the lights left on, and not a single shred of evidence to indicate where the crew went, now that is something more frightening.

So what happened to the crew of this most recent ghost ship, and more importantly, who forgot to turn the lights off?

MJ Banias

MJ Banias is the author of “The UFO People: A Curious Culture” and curates the popular Fortean blog “Terra Obscura" and YouTube channel. He has appeared on multiple radio shows and podcasts including Coast to Coast AM, and his work has appeared in Fortean Times Magazine, FATE Magazine and in the book, “UFOs: Reframing the Debate."

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