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Mary Celeste Chryssafo

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Mary Celeste Chryssafo

  1. 1. Chryssafo Karakitsou proudly presents “The Mary Celeste Project”
  2. 2. The Mary Celeste (some other people call it Marie Céleste) was a British American famous for having been discovered on December 4th 1872 near the in the Atlantic Ocean floating with no men aboard and apparently abandoned. Only one lifeboat was missing along with its crew of seven seamen, captain Briggs, his wife and their two-year-old daughter, although the weather was fine and all the men were excellent sailors. The Mary Celeste was in a very good shape and was sailing towards She had been at sea for a month and there was food and water enough for six more months. Her cargo was untouched and the crew’s personal belongings were still in place, including valuables. None of those on board was ever seen or heard from again and their disappearance is one of the greatest of all times. There are a lot of theories why the sailors abandoned their ship. People talk about alcohol fumes, underwater earthquakes, waterspouts) or (piracy, mutiny, errors of judgment) or extraterrestrial life, Unidentified Flying Objects – UFO’s, sea monsters and the although the ship was not sailing in that area of the Atlantic. The Mary Celeste with a history of misfortune was said to be even before they found her derelict with no apparent explanation, In 1885 the Mary Celeste was destroyed when her last owner sank her off the coast of Haiti to collect the money from the insurance company. There are many tragic coincidences connected to Mary Celeste. The first name of the ship was the Amazon and was made in Nova Scotia (England). The first captain, Robert Mc Lellan, son of one of the first owners got sick with pneumonia nine days after he became captain and died. The second captain, John Nutting Parker hit a fishing boat. He had to take the ship back for repairs but there was a big fire when they were repairing it and he died too. The next captain wanted to sail the Atlantic but he also fell on another ship in the English Channel. So, he lost his job.
  3. 3. On November 5, 1872, under command of Captain Briggs, the Mary Celeste docked on New York City's East River and took on board a cargo of 1,701 barrels of commercial alcohol intended for fortifying Italian wines on behalf of Meissner Ackermann & Co. It was worth about $35,000; the ship and cargo together were insured for $46,000. The Mary Celeste then set sail from Staten Island for Genoa, Italy. In addition to her captain and a crew of seven, she carried the captain's wife, who had sailed with her husband many times, and their two-year-old daughter. Thus ten people were aboard. Briggs had spent most of his life at sea, and had captained at least five ships and owned many more. The crew for this voyage included a Dane and four Germans, all of whom spoke fluent English, had exemplary records, and were considered experienced, trustworthy and capable seamen. The first mate and cook were Americans. Before the Mary Celeste left New York, Captain Briggs spoke with an old friend, David Reed Morehouse, from Nova Scotia, who was captain of the Canadian merchant ship Dei Gratia, also a brigantine. Briggs, Morehouse, and their wives had dinner together on the evening of November 4. Briggs and Morehouse had served together as sailors when they were young. During the conversation, they discovered they had a similar course across the Atlantic Ocean, through the Strait of Gibraltar and into the Mediterranean. However, Morehouse was still waiting for his cargo to arrive when the Mary Celeste left port on November 5. Morehouse's cargo eventually arrived and on November 15, the Dei Gratia finally set off with 1,735 barrels of petroleum in her hold. The Dei Gratia left New York harbor seven days after the Mary Celeste (some sources say eight days later). Sporadic bad weather had been reported in the Atlantic throughout October, although the Dei Gratia encountered none and her journey across the ocean in November was uneventful. Just short of a month after leaving port, on December 4, 1872 (some accounts state December 5, which is the equivalent date in nautical days), at approximately 13:00, the helmsman (πηδαλιούχος) of the Dei Gratia, John Johnson, sighted a ship about five miles (8 km) through his spyglass. The position of the Dei Gratia was approximately 38°20′N 17°15′W, some 600 miles (1,000 km) west of Portugal. Johnson's keen, experienced eyes detected almost at once that there was something strangely wrong with the other vessel. She was yawing(έχασκε) slightly, and her sails did not look right, being slightly torn. Johnson alerted his second officer, John Wright, who looked and had the same feelings about her. They informed the captain. As they moved closer, they saw the ship was the Mary Celeste.
  4. 4. Captain Morehouse wondered why the Mary Celeste had not already reached Italy, as she had a head start on his own ship. According to the account given by the crew of the Dei Gratia, they approached to 400 yards (366 metres) from the Mary Celeste and cautiously observed her for two hours. She was under sail, yet sailing erratically(με αστάθεια) and slowly heading toward the Strait of Gibraltar. They concluded she was drifting after seeing no one at the helm or even on deck, though the ship was flying no distress signal. Oliver Deveau, chief mate(υποπλοίαρχος) of the Dei Gratia, boarded the Mary Celeste. He reported he did not find anyone on board, and said that "the whole ship was a thoroughly wet mess". There was only one operational pump, two apparently having been disassembled, with a lot of water between decks and three and a half feet (1.1 m) of water in the hold. However, the ship was not sinking and was still seaworthy. All of the ship's papers were missing, except for the captain's logbook with the last entry being a Nov. 25 sighting of St. Mary's Island, some 700 miles away from where the ship was found. The forehatch and the lazarette were both open, although the main hatch (μπουκαπόρτα) was sealed. The ship's clock was not functioning, and the compass was destroyed; the sextant and marine chronometer were missing. The only lifeboat on the Mary Celeste, a yawl(πλοιάριο) located above the main hatch, was also missing. The peak halyard (κεντρικό σκοινί της σημαίας), used to hoist (να υψώσουν) the main sail, had disappeared. A rope, perhaps the peak halyard, was found tied to the ship very strongly and the other end, very frayed, was trailing in the water behind the ship. Popular stories of untouched breakfasts with still-warm cups of tea on the cabin table are untrue and most likely originated with fictionalized accounts of the incident, especially one by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. At the inquiry, Oliver Deveau stated that he saw no preparations for eating and there was nothing to eat or drink in the cabin. Deveau returned to his ship and reported to the captain. Two men, Charles Augustus Anderson and Charles Lund, then boarded the Mary Celeste. The cargo of 1,701 barrels of alcohol Deveau reported was in good order. However, when it was eventually unloaded in Genoa, nine barrels were found to be empty. A six-month supply of uncontaminated food and fresh water was still aboard, and the crew's personal possessions and artifacts were left untouched, making a piracy raid seem extremely unlikely. It appeared the vessel had been abandoned in a hurry. There was no sign of a struggle, or of any sort of violence.
  5. 5. What was Mary Celeste? Where was Mary Celeste floating when they found her? What was the date? Were there any people on board? How many people were on board before they disappeared? Who were they? What theories are there about the ship? What do you think really happened?
  6. 6. Thank you! Chryssafo Karakitsou

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