Mystery of Myanmar ‘ghost ship’ solved

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The mystery of a “ghost ship” found drifting near Myanmar has been solved.

The Myanmar navy says the empty cargo ship was being tugged to a ship-breaking plant in Bangladesh when bad weather caused it to become detached.

The Sam Rataulangi PB 1600 was discovered this week by fishermen in the Gulf of Martaban, about seven miles (11km) from the shore near Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon.

Pic: Facebook/Yangon Police
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There were no goods or sailors on board. Pic: Facebook/Yangon Police

It was “stranded on the beach (and was) bearing an Indonesian flag”, police said, adding that there were “no sailors or goods” on board.

The ship was being towed by a tugboat called Independence.

Pic: Facebook/Yangon Police
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The vessel was built in 2001. Pic: Facebook/Yangon Police

Website Eleven Myanmar said that after the two vessels arrived south of the Yangon River on 26 August, cables connecting the tug to the Sam Rataulangi were cut off because of bad conditions.

The vessel ran aground after being carried off by the current.

Pic: Facebook/Yangon Police
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The ship was abandoned after cables broke in bad weather. Pic: Facebook/Yangon Police

All this emerged after the navy used coastal radar to establish the location of the two vessels prior to their separation – and then tracked down the tug about 50 miles from Myanmar’s coast.

After questioning Independence’s 13 Indonesian crew members, it was found that it had been towing the cargo ship since 13 August, but after the cables broke they decided to abandon it.

The Sam Rataulangi was built in 2001 and has a deadweight of 26,500 tons, according to the Marine Traffic website, which lists the movements of ships around the globe.

Its last reported location was off the coast on Taiwan in 2009.

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