Derelict Ships & Vessels (Abandoned; No One Aboard)

JamesWhitehead

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I came across this when researching something else. These three articles tell a curious tale which was new to me, though curiously familiar.


http://www.khaleejtimes.co.ae/ktarchive ... eworld.htm

15 January 2003

Ghost ship packed with rotten fish found on high sea

CANBERRA - Australian police said on Tuesday they were baffled by the discovery of a ghost ship full of rotting fish -- but no crew or life rafts -- drifting off the remote northwest coast of Australia.

The 20-metre (65-ft) High Aim 6, registered in Taiwan and flying an Indonesian flag, was intercepted and boarded by the Australian navy last week about 300 km (185 miles) west of the fishing port of Broome after it was spotted drifting aimlessly. A massive search in the area has turned up no survivors, life rafts or clues, but the presence of up to three tonnes of rotting mackerel and tuna in the hold has convinced police the boat was used by fisherman, not people smugglers.

"There weren't any indications on board that anything untoward had happened. The conditions on board were quite good," a spokeswoman for the Australian Federal Police in Perth told Reuters.

She said the long-line fishing boat, which would have a crew of around 12, appeared well-equipped and seaworthy. The weather in the area has been calm for weeks.

Police have launched an international investigation in a bid to track down the owners or crew of the boat. "The only factor we have to work with at the moment is the fact that it is Taiwanese-owned, so we'll be going to the owners to try to learn a little bit more about the crew and a little bit more about the history of the vessel's passage to this point," the police spokeswoman said. - Reuters




http://www.abc.net.au/kimberley/stories/s1204140.htm

Presenter: Vanessa Mills
Wednesday, 22 September  2004 
The Ghost Ship in balmy days in Roebuck Bay.

The "Ghost Ship" is about to be scuppered.


But not as an artificial reef or a dive wreck – it’s going to the tip.

The unusual shaped fishing vessel has become an unlikely icon and unofficial tourist attraction on the foreshore of Broome's Roebuck Bay over the past year and a half.

Registered as High Aim 6, everyone simply calls it the ghost ship.

It’s a Taiwanese fishing boat that was found drifting without its crew off the Kimberley coast in January 2003. Its hold was filled with tonnes of rotting fish and in the captain's cabin there were the signs of life such as cigarettes and reading glasses.

The discovery sparked an international investigation but the whereabouts of the crew or why the boat was abandoned remains mystery.

Certainly the Taiwanese owner didn’t want High Aim 6 back and that left Federal authorities in a dilemma about what to do with the 24 metre vessel... until now.

Plans to sink it as a dive wreck have been rejected because it could become a shipping hazard or an environmental threat. The boat had been leaking diesel and couldn’t be burnt because of its fibreglass hull.

Over the next few weeks the ghost ship will be broken up and taken to the Broome tip, which hasn’t made everyone happy.

Talkback callers to ABC Radio Kimberley's breakfast programme expressed their disappointment, even outrage.

Broome Fishing Club member Kevin Blatchford says the plans for it to be a wreck would have been marvellous but they were hamstrung by red tape and money.

Howwever it's understood that a group of Broome businessmen might be mounting a last ditch effort to turn the ghost ship into a tourist attraction.

The High Aim 6 is showing signs of deterioration – it’s sitting on the red mudflats day after day & listing heavily. Curiously, it does seem to have nine lives; having survived cyclones while other boats were wrecked or damaged.

The boat is also in a lot of photo albums!

A local professional photographer says it's the third most popular attraction to take a snap of, behind the staircase to the moon and boabs.

Roebuck Bay won’t be the same for Roger Colless when the ghost ship goes.

Roger runs the local hovercraft operation at the Broome port and the High Aim 6 has been parked in his 'front yard' for the past 20 months.

Just a few metres from the edge of his lawn, Roger says it's been a popular backdrop for wedding photos.


http://lists.samurai.com/pipermail/traw ... 55749.html

Interesting article from NYC International section 1/18/03
A Fishing Boat Falls Prey to Mutiny? Pirates?
By RAYMOND BONNER

ILLIE CREEK, Australia, Jan. 17 Somewhere in the Indian Ocean, before
the
sun's rays bounced off the waves on the third day of 2003, something
happened aboard the High Aim No. 6, a long-line fishing boat.

When the Australian Navy came upon the 80-foot vessel six days later, on
Jan. 9, it was drifting, on full throttle, the main gas tank dry. The
auxiliary fuel tanks, full, had not been switched on. When the sailors
boarded, they found 10 tons of valuable bonito tuna in the refrigerated
hold.

A partial carton of Marlboro cigarettes and a jar of Nescafi were on the
dash above the helm in the wheelhouse, along with the captain's reading
glasses. The crew members' clothes and international documents were
neatly
where they should be.

But there was no crew. Vanished. Gone.

What happened to the crew of the High Aim has baffled Australian
investigators and salty sea veterans, as well as the residents in this
sparsely populated, far-off corner of Australia, who have come to call
it
"the ghost ship."

Every theory is quickly dashed on the shoals of contradicting facts, and
more questions surface.

"I've been working with boats all my life and I've never seen anything
like
this," said Craig Kennedy, standing at the water's edge in shorts and
thong
sandals, his head protected from the punishing sun by a battered Akubra,
the
wide-brimmed Australian cowboy hat. The High Aim is tossing on the waves
just visible, a mile off the beach, where the navy towed it.

"It's just a bloody mystery," he said. The hulk of another boat, which
had
been used by people smugglers, listed in the sand behind him.

Mr. Kennedy, 50, has seen smugglers, pirates and mutineers. He lives in
a
ramshackle collection of structures at the end of a red dirt road that
runs
through a wilderness of acacia trees and shrubs, populated by gray
kangaroos
and dingos. Here he operates a detention center of sorts for boats and
crews
caught doing something illegal in Australian waters.

Now the High Aim is in his custody, and each day his sons, Chaz and
Chris,
motor out to it in their open boat with a 75-horsepower outboard to
empty
more fish from the hold. Eight tons have already been tossed into the
sea,
attracting sharks, they said. Today as they skillfully piloted the boat
over
10-foot swells, they talked about the theories about what had happened,
and
why all had holes in them. The Australian police have begun an
investigation
but are no closer to solving the mystery.

"Creepy, isn't it?" a spokeswoman for the Australian Federal Police in
Perth
said as she went over the facts known so far.

The High Aim left Taiwan on Oct. 31 with a captain and engineer, and
sailed
to Indonesia, where on Nov. 16 it picked up a crew of eight.

There have been press reports that the engineer, who was from Taiwan,
made
phone calls from his mobile phone while in Bali, but the reports seem
inspired by a desire to add to the intrigue by suggesting that the ship
was
being used to spirit away some of those responsible for the terrorist
bombing in Bali on Oct. 12.

The Australian investigators have not determined where the calls were
made,
nor do they know the Indonesian port where the High Aim called, the
police
spokeswoman said.

But the investigators have determined that from Indonesia, the ship and
crew
went to the Marshall Islands for their mission, fishing.

The owner talked with his captain on Dec. 16. It was the last known
contact
with the boat, the police spokeswoman said.

Later in December the United States Coast Guard, apparently in response
to a
missing-boat call from the owner, searched for the High Aim in the
vicinity
of the Marshall Islands. It found nothing.

Then, on Jan. 4, the Australian crew of a twin-engine Bombardier de
Havilland Dash 8 spotted the High Aim. It was far from the Marshall
Islands,
near the Rowley Shoals, about 150 miles off the coast here.

The plane, belonging to Coastwatch, a division of the Australian Customs
Service, was on a routine surveillance mission looking for drug runners,
people smugglers and illegal fishing boats.

A photo taken by the customs agents shows the deck of the High Aim
devoid of
any human activity, and the agents did not see anyone aboard the boat, a
Customs Service official in Broome, Paul McCoy, said in an interview.

That was not a cause for suspicion, he said, because foreign fishing
crews
often store their gear and go below when in Australia's waters, where
foreign fishing is severely restricted.
Advertisement

But because it was a foreign ship inside the Australian fishing zone,
which
extends 200 miles into the sea, the customs agents radioed a report
immediately to the authorities in Canberra, the capital.

The authorities there decided that there was no need for concern, that
the
Taiwanese boat was probably passing through Australian waters to new
fishing
grounds.

In fact, the crew had probably abandoned the boat, for whatever reason,
in
the 48 hours before Coastwatch spotted it. The tear-off calendar hanging
in
the wheelhouse still has the Jan. 3 page on it; earlier pages had been
torn
off.

On Jan. 9, while heading into port at Broome, an Australian Navy ship,
the
Stuart, came upon the drifting ship and boarded it. The investigation
began.

The first assumption was that the boat had belonged to people smugglers.
But
for many reasons that has been discounted, officials said.

Mutiny comes to mind. Indonesian crews have been known to turn on their
Chinese captains, said Mr. Kennedy, who now has custody of the boat. But
there was no blood on the boat, and no other evidence of a struggle, he
said.

Besides, if there had been a mutiny, the Indonesian crew would have
stripped
the boat of everything valuable, Mr. Kennedy said. "I've been around
Indonesian crews for 15 years," he said. "I know they would not have
left
anything."

But highly valuable equipment is still aboard on the High Aim, including
an
echo sounder for locating fish, radar gear and a Global Positioning
System.

The only thing that was missing was the high-frequency radio. This
suggests
that someone did not want the crew to radio for help. That suggests
pirates.
Piracy is notorious in the waters between Indonesia and Australia, and
with
their AK-47 rifles, pirates have even seized huge commercial tankers.

But pirates would have taken the boat and the valuable tuna, Mr. Kennedy
said.

Perhaps, he said, the pirates were interrupted in their mission. But
then
where did they and the crew go?

A life raft is missing from the boat maybe. No life raft was found on
the
High Aim, Mr. Kennedy said, but then, owners always say they have life
rafts
but do not necessarily provide them.

If the crew did flee in the life raft, where are they? The weather at
sea
has been calm for the last two weeks, so they should have been found or
reached safety.

"We wait with bated breath," said Mr. McCoy, the customs agent.
 

Yithian

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Delicious story James, thanks for posting it. There's almost too many little snippets of information in there to determine accurately what's a pertinent clue and what's a red-herring or mere coincidence.

Eyes peeled for follow-ups.
 

hokum6

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Cool, a modern Marie Celeste. But smellier, by the sounds of it.

the presence of up to three tonnes of rotting mackerel and tuna in the hold has convinced police the boat was used by fisherman, not people smugglers.

Not to worry, Inspector Knacker has solved the case.
A boat filled with fish. Could it be a...fishing boat? Used by fishermen? Genius!
 

Yithian

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the presence of up to three tonnes of rotting mackerel and tuna in the hold has convinced police the boat was used by fisherman, not people smugglers.

Though, of course, fishing and people smuggling are not mutually exclusive activities.

These fiendish criminals could have come up with an evil and dishonest twist on good old fashioned crime: a cover story. :shock:
 

rjmrjmrjm

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Very cool. Your research is also handy in observing how stories change slightly over time, new pieces of info get added etc..

Interesting.
 

JamesWhitehead

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A very sad case of a ghost-ship with 11 corpses on board. This time there was a letter. RIP. Perhaps the thread title could be changed to something more generic?


After four months at sea, ghost ship with 11 petrified corpses washes up in Barbados

· Letter left by dying man gives clue to investigators
· Dozens of others thought to have perished en route

Giles Tremlett in Madrid
Monday May 29, 2006
The Guardian

Police and forensic experts inspect a boat in Bridgetown, Barbados, where 11 bodies were found in the cabin of the unnamed 20-foot boat. Photograph: Chris Brandis/AP
 
The white ghost ship rolled in the Atlantic swell as the rescue boats approached it 70 nautical miles off Ragged Point, one of the most easterly places on the Caribbean island of Barbados.

The yacht was unmarked, 6 metres (20ft) long, and when Barbadian coastguard officers boarded it, they made a gruesome find. The boat's phantom crew was made up of the desiccated corpses of 11 young men, huddled in two separate piles in the small cabin. Dressed in shorts and colourful jerseys, they had been partially petrified by the salt water, sun and sea breezes of the Atlantic Ocean. They appeared to have come from far away.

The sea-battered yacht, identified by one local ship's captain as of French design, was towed into the port at Willoughy Fort, Bridgetown, and the bodies, by now wrapped in plastic bags, were heaved on to the quay.

In a part of the world where legends and myths have often been furnished by the sea, the mystery of the dead men soon provoked curious speculation.

An air ticket from Senegal Airlines and a tragic note written by one of the men as he was preparing to die have, however, helped investigators from several countries set about unravelling the mystery.

For, although the floating coffin appeared off the coast of the Americas, those on board had set off four months earlier from the Cape Verde islands, off the African coast, and had been heading for the European soil of the Canary Islands.

The evidence reportedly points to them having been cut adrift in the Atlantic and left to drift off to a slow, painful end. Barbados police have said the cause of the deaths was starvation and dehydration.

'Please excuse me'

"I would like to send to my family in Bassada [a town in the interior of Senegal] a sum of money. Please excuse me and goodbye. This is the end of my life in this big Moroccan sea," the note said, according to a Barbados paper, the Daily Nation. Relatives of those aboard have been contacting the Barbadian authorities from as far afield as Senegal, Spain and Portugal. They have added pieces to the puzzle - based on telephone calls with relatives before they boarded, and with people who stayed in contact with the boat during the first stage of the voyage.

The story of the 11 dead and some 40 other would-be immigrants from Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Gambia starts on Christmas Day last year at Praia, a port in the former Portuguese colony of Cape Verde. There, for €1,300 (£890) each, they were promised a trip to the Canary Islands by a mysterious Spaniard.

Their boat was to be a motorised yacht, recently repaired but bearing no name and no flag. They paid to make the voyage, assuming that the Spaniard - a mechanic based in the Canaries - would be skippering the boat. At the last moment, however, a Senegalese man took over and the Spaniard disappeared. Several then refused to make the journey. One, according to the El Pais newspaper yesterday, jumped from the yacht as it set sail. It is by no means clear what happened next.

Somewhere near the Mauritanian port of Nouadhibou the yacht ran into trouble. Another boat was sent to its aid, apparently after the skipper had contacted the Spaniard. The yacht was towed but, at some stage, the line was severed. El Pais reported that it had been hacked with a machete. With no fuel left and food and water running out, the migrants' fate was left in the hands of the sea, the weather, and luck. The latter soon ran out.

The yacht drifted into the stormy Atlantic and, it is assumed, people were tossed or washed overboard as they died.

The 11 last survivors, huddled together against the elements, were reported to have died by the end of January. At that stage their yacht became a ghost ship, battered by storms or winds until it appeared, 2,800 miles away, on the other side of the Atlantic. A Barbados fishing boat was the first to sight it on April 29, 135 days after it had set sail. The coastguard vessel HMBS Trident was sent to discover its awful secrets.

Anxious phone calls from relatives to the Daily Nation have turned up some of the names of those on the boat. They include a Gambian, Bouba Cisse, whose cousin Abdou Karime, now in Portugal, saw the case reported on TV. "We've been watching it [the story of the 11 bodies found] on Spanish TV and a lot of family members I know would have wished for the bodies discovered to be returned to our country," he told the newspaper.

Immigrant route

The 11 bodies now in a Barbados morgue, along with those presumed dead, add to a growing death toll on the newest immigrant route into Europe from Africa.

This route, from the west African coast to Cape Verde, opened up late last year. By March Spanish authorities claimed more than 1,000 had drowned.

That has not stopped the flow. Three vessels carrying 188 African migrants reached Tenerife yesterday. The number of immigrants to have reached the Canaries this year is close to 7,000.

Interpol, meanwhile, has asked police around the world to locate the mysterious Spaniard who took some €50,000 from the immigrants before they sailed to their death.

Last letter

I am from Senegal but have been living in Cape Verde for a year. Things are bad. I don't think I will come out of this alive. I need whoever finds me to send this money to my family. Please telephone my friend Ibrahima Drame.
Signed Diaw Sounkar Diemi.
El Pais's account of note found on boat
 

Philo_T

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OldTimeRadio

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There were press reports at the time that cellphones known to have been aboard the High-Aim 6 continued to be used from various Asian locations even after the ship was discovered abandoned.

That sounds like either mutiny or piracy.
 

rynner2

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Another mystery is why Jame's third link seems to lead to something totally unconnected, despite the Trawlers in the URL. :shock:
 

JamesWhitehead

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Hm, well it is the right site but the link is definitely wrong. I can't find the article on there now. Several other places have links to the NY Times, which requires registration to view it. Maybe they have sent the heavies round and maybe I'm next. Enjoy it while you can! :shock:
 

rynner2

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..and another one:
Mysterious yacht found empty off millionaire's playgroundNICK PISA
IN ROME
POLICE and coastguards were yesterday investigating a Mary Celeste-style mystery after a £300,000 classic schooner was found empty, floating off the Italian coast.

The 66-foot twin-masted vessel had no name and no other identification markings and was discovered by coastguards on a routine patrol.

Onboard the yacht there was a half-eaten meal as well as maps of the Mediterranean, piles of clothes and a punctured tender.

The schooner - which was described by coastguards as of a "classic" design - was found drifting off the coast of Punta Volpe on the island of Sardinia, known as a millionaire's playground.

Strong currents were pushing it towards rocks and coastguards boarded the vessel just in time and managed to attach a line and tow it to the port of Olbia where it was being examined.

A coastguard spokesman said that they and police were trying to establish whether the yacht had been intentionally abandoned and what had happened to the crew.

Officials had discovered a plaque with the name "Bel Amica" but said that initial checks with shipping registers had found no yacht with that name.

No vessels have been reported missing or stolen, which has added to the mystery.

Yesterday, a spokesman at the harbour-master's office in Olbia said: "At the moment the discovery is a complete mystery and we are investigating with police.

"There was no name and no registration markings or documents were found, but a proper search is now being carried out with the yacht in harbour.

"She is in perfect condition and is a classic twin-masted schooner worth at least 450,000, if not more.

"She was found drifting off Punta Volpe and there was no sign of the crew at all.

"Onboard there was a half-eaten meal, maps of the Mediterranean and piles of clothes.

"It gave the impression of being abandoned very quickly, but for what reason we just don't know.

"At this stage we cannot rule anything out - it could be piracy, it could be the crew had a problem and abandoned the yacht, we just don't know.

"A plaque with the name Bel Amica was found but we can find no trace of a similar yacht with that name.

"It's certainly the sort of yacht you would get round here in the summer as the owner must be very wealthy and we get a lot of wealthy visitors in the summer."

The Mediterranean island is a popular destination for VIPs. Visitors this summer have included Prince Andrew - who spent an evening at an exclusive nightclub.

Russian Oligarch and millionaire Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has also been seen there this summer on board his yacht Pelarus.

Also, designer Roberto Cavalli entertained David and Victoria Beckham on his yacht there.

Yesterday the mystery yacht was attracting dozens of onlookers at Olbia. Police had to put up barriers to keep back crowds of locals and tourists who had gathered to take a look.

http://news.scotsman.com/international. ... 1245022006
 

Slejpner

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caroleaswas said:
So what's the general consensus of opinion on the modern M Celeste, then?

Carole

The smell of rotting fish obviously drove them away :roll:
 

Timble2

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A classic story re-emerges for the 21st century:

'Ghost yacht' found off Australia
Emergency services in Australia have launched a search for the three-man crew of a yacht found drifting off the North Queensland coast.
The vessel was found with its engine running, and a table laid for dinner, but there were no signs of any people.

An air and sea rescue operation has been launched to retrace the yacht's voyage, and pinpoint the search area.

The three-crew members are thought to have set sail for Townsville from Airlie Beach on Sunday.

The 12m (40 foot) catamaran was spotted by a helicopter on Wednesday, but a rescue team only reached the boat on Friday, and confirmed that there was no one aboard.


Rescue crews say they are puzzled by the mysterious disappearance.
"The engine was running, the computers were running, there was a laptop set up on the table which was running, the radio was working... and there was food and utensils set on the table ready to eat," said Jon Hall, a spokesman for Queensland's Emergency Management office.

"It was a bit strange," he added.

All the vessel's sails were up, although one was badly shredded, and lifejackets were still on board.

Mr Hall said rescue workers had recovered the boat's global position system (GPS) device, which might give them more clues as to the crew's whereabouts.

"That will now enable us to track backwards where this yacht has actually been in the last few days, and we're hoping that can pinpoint the search area for the missing crew," he said.

Twelve aircraft are now searching for the crew of the boat which is already being dubbed "the ghost yacht".

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/w ... 574547.stm

Published: 2007/04/20 05:16:42 GMT

© BBC MMVII
 

Xanatico

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Typical, nothing original these days, just all remakes. ;)

If the laptop on the table was not plugged in they might have been able to look at the battery and determine how long it had been there. And of course look at how mouldy the food was. But great story certainly, I hadn´t thought we´d see something like this again.
 

Vardoger

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Perhaps they have been attacked by pirates?
 

Xanatico

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I think then you would expect blood and signs of struggle. And probably for laptop and such to be missing. I don´t think pirates are common in that area either.
 

liveinabin

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I am taking this with a pinch of salt. I can't help but wonder if the details have been slightly over blown.
 

Xanatico

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I´m thinking it might be some kind of viral advertising, and that it hasn´t really happened. Damn those advertising companies for not playing fair anymore.
 

elvissa

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Maybe a shark smelt their dinner and invited himself in? :twisted:
 

Philo_T

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another classic case of 'last one to jump in the water is an indian' gone horribly wrong.

Why won't people ever learn?!!!

At least wait until the engines aren't running before calling that.
 

Mythopoeika

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My theory is that one of the guys was doing some fishing, caught something big, the other guys tried to help, and they all got dragged overboard... daft I know.
 

GNC

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It might be as simple as one chap falling overboard and the others following him into the drink when they tried to save him. If they're not on the boat they must be in the sea, unless they were kidnapped.

It's sort of a seafaring Flannan Isles case, isn't it?
 

OldTimeRadio

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Here's my landlubber's scenario:

1. One man is swept overboard or falls from the deck into the sea.

2. The others jump in to rescue him.

3. The yacht continues to sail beyond swimming distance, so all three drown.
 

GNC

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It would be interesting to know if there was a ladder on the side of the boat.
 

reversereverb

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They've found another off the coast of Australia:

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,21606996-2,00.html

ANOTHER unmanned vessel has been discovered floating off the coast of Queensland.

The 6m barnacle-encrusted fibreglass boat, which was yesterday spotted in waters off the Sunshine Coast, is the second mystery vessel to be found in Queensland waters in less than a week.

Fisherman spotted the second boat about 30km off the coast of Caloundra.

The boat was found upturned and adrift, with the keys still in the ignition and a tank full of fuel.

Fishing gear and scuba diving equipment were retrieved from the vessel and both outboard motors were still intact.

Police are now searching for the owners of the boat, which is registered in Noumea.

The boat is believed to have been adrift for several months, and authorities believe it may have simply broken free from its moorings.

The discovery comes just one day after authorities called off the search for three men missing from a yacht found unmanned and adrift last Wednesday about 160km off Townsville.

The three crew members - skipper Des Batten, 56, and brothers Peter and James Tunstead, aged 69 and 63, all from Perth - went missing some time after their 9.8-metre catamaran, KAZ II, left Shute Harbour at Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays the previous weekend.

Authorities called off the search yesterday, but the trio's family members have refused to give up hope and spent today unsuccessfully searching Airlie Beach and its surrounding islands.

There is a range of theories about what happened to the men.

One is that they fell overboard in rough seas. Another is that another vessel came alongside and they boarded it, either willingly or unwillingly, as if they had been attacked by pirates.

Family members are hopeful the trio managed to swim to a nearby island and are awaiting rescue.

"That's our hope. That's where we're going to concentrate today," James Tunstead's son Shane Webber told ABC radio.

"Maybe they've all got knocked over by the boom, or something happened at the back of the boat when they were fishing because we know they were fishing at the time by video footage we've seen from the Townsville police.

"That's about the only theories we can come up with at the moment."
 

hokum6

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Why are these boats always found with the table set for dinner (and why not breakfast or lunch, or a mid-afternoon snack?).
Clearly, if you're at sea you should NEVER lay the table for dinner, then you'll be safe!
 

OldTimeRadio

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TWO ships? This may kick my "brilliant" theory, above, right in the head.

Pirates?

Sea monsters?

Alien abductors from Strontium Six?

Marauding Muvians?

Nazi Unterseeboots out of Antarctica?

Vampire mermaids?

Cthulhu?
 
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