Inside the SS Ourang Medan: The most mysterious “ghost ship” in maritime history

Inside the SS Ourang Medan: The most mysterious “ghost ship” in maritime history

The event that the entire crew on the commercial ship Urang Medana (also known as The SS Ourang Medan) mysteriously di‌ed 67 years ago is considered the most mysterious tragedy in the world’s maritime history.

68 years ago, in the Strait of Malacca (Malaysia) happened a terrible tragedy that is still considered one of the greatest mysteries in the world’s maritime history. The entire crew including the captain on the ship The SS Ourang Medan (Netherlands) di‌ed tragically. They all had one thing in common: their faces were full of terror, their eyes were wide open, their mouths were open as if before they di‌ed they had seen something very scary. Also from here, The SS Ourang Medan has become famous as the most mysterious ghost ship.

1. Strange and desperate distress signal

In June 1947 (documents say February 1948), British and Dutch personnel were working at radar stations located on Sumatra island (Indonesia) and Malaysia. suddenly received scary SOS signals from the ship The SS Ourang Medan with the content:

” All the officers, including the dead captain, are lying in the chart room and the bridge… The entire crew is probably dead too… I’m the only survivor… “

This first message was followed by a series of confusing Morse codes, jumbled with dots. Moments later, the signal was resumed, and the last signal foreshadowed bad luck with only one sentence: ” I’m dying !” then everything ended in silence.

Immediately, the staff at these radar stations worked together to locate the ship’s signal and notify nearby boats to the scene. At that time, two American merchant ships, The City of Baltimore and Silver Star of Grace Lines, New York, were sailing in that area and received the above news.

Silver Star was the first ship to approach the SS Ourang Medan. It was found in the Gulf of Malacca (Malaysia), about 80km from the place of the previous signal. The Silver Star’s crew waved and called out to check for signs of life on deck, but there was no answer and only eerie silence was answered. The captain of the Silver Star decided to send a rescue team aboard the SS Ourang Medan to search for survivors, but what they witnessed was a horrible nightmare.

2. Terrifying scenes

As soon as they set foot on the deck of the SS Ourang Medan, the rescue team had to shiver with chills at the horrifying scene on board: The entire Dutch crew was now just horrible corpses lying on the floor. scattered, eyes wide open in terror, mouth frozen as if shouting, arms outstretched as if to say “Please don’t!”. Entering, they found the captain dead on the bridge, his face showing the same horror as the sailors.

The burly officers were now frozen corpses scattered about the bridge and chart room. Even the dog on the train could not avoid a tragic death, his teeth bared as if threatening someone, his head turned to the Sun, eyes wide. But most heartbreaking was the operator on the radio, who di‌ed with his finger still on the keypad of the telegraph, where he had attempted to send out the last distress telegram announcing his imminent death.

The frightened faces of the crew of the SS Ourang Medan.

But what is even more strange is that nothing was taken from the ship, the furniture is still intact and the most mysterious is that although there are no survivors, but on the body of the crew there are no signs of any kind. any sign of external damage. After witnessing the terrible tragedy on board, Silver Star’s rescue team decided to tow the SS Ourang Medan to port.

But before they could pull the ship to shore, they discovered thick clouds of smoke rising from the bunker below the deck and interrupting the rescue work. Before he could consider anything further, suddenly a fire broke out, forcing the Silver Star crew to cut their ropes and retreat. Then, the SS Ourang Medan exploded, caught fire, and sank very quickly. The explosion was so powerful that the ship was “lifted out of the sea”, bringing with it the mystery of tragic fates buried on the seabed.

The SS Ourang Medan exploded before sinking to the bottom of the sea.

In some accounts, there are several different details, the day of that tragic event, the sea was rough instead of calm and the crew’s corpses decomposed at a very rapid rate. It is documented that the first American ship to approach the ghost ship was The City of Baltimore, not the Silver Star. But anyway the stories still have the same key point that the entire crew of the SS Ourang Medan had to experience a mysterious gruesome death. So what happened to the SS Ourang Medan?

3. Theories

Many theories have been put forward to explain the mysterious incident of the SS Ourang Medan.

The place where the SS Ourang Medan started (lower red note) and sank (upper red).

There is a theory that the Ourang Medan was beaten to cover up a crime. But the biggest questionable flaw that underlies this theory is the fact that the Ourang Medan is not on record, meaning that it is completely a “ghost” ship even if it hasn’t crashed. . British marine historian Roy Bainton made great efforts to find information about the ship’s voyage in the countries involved but failed. He said:

The SS Ourang Medan could be a well-kept secret in some intelligence archive that no one knows.

However, the clue appeared when he approached Otto Mielke’s book, The Death Ship in the South China Sea, published in 1954, which detailed the trip of the Silver Star but the author ignored it. through important facts.

He discovered two people, professor Theodor Siersdorfer in Essen, who had been following this case for more than 45 years, and maritime detective Alvar Mastin, a German living in Hull (England) who had studied the records of the SS Ourang Medan. Mastin is the one who constantly tries to access the Silver Star crew list and logbook but stumbles into the eerie silence of Grace Lines. There is no tangible evidence that it even existed, which has raised suspicions of a political conspiracy concealed by the governments of many countries that caused the ship to have been deliberately removed from the sea. all marine records. The reason may be that the Ourang Medan was used to transport a secret cargo of extremely dangerous nerve gas – a superfluous “death” cargo after World War II.

This theory makes sense for the gruesome deaths of the crew of Ourang Medan. With so many dangerous chemicals on board, just a gas leak is sure to kill everyone on board. then. However, this theory does not explain why the Silver Star rescue team was unharmed by the toxic gas when they boarded the Ourang Medan.

It is possible that the ship Ourang Medan crashed because it was used to transport “death” goods and they developed during the journey.

Another theory is that the ship Ourang Medan was attacked by pirates. This is consistent with the location of the shipwreck in the Strait of Malacca – a famous place where pirates have been raging since the 14th century. However, this hypothesis was immediately disproved by the accounts of American ship rescue team, everything on board Ourang Medan was undisturbed and nothing was taken away. And one more detail that this theory cannot explain, is that there are no wounds on the victims’ bodies.

Along with the development of modern science and technology, people have hypothesized about the hidden killer, which is infrasound. Infrasound can make people anxious, mentally sluggish, and even nervous. Infrasound also causes dizziness, lightheadedness, chest tightness, and paralysis of the whole body. Infrasound with a frequency below 7Hz is dangerous to human life, greatly disrupting the body structure leading to death. But this theory is also not convincing because it cannot explain why the crew of Ourang Medan when they di‌ed showed a frightened face, eyes widening like that.

Finally, there is the theory of a mysterious force, possibly an alien, that caused the tragedy of the Ourang Medan. One of the little-noticed details is that all of the Silver Star rescue crews felt a chill as they boarded the Ourang Medan. The drop in temperature felt by the rescue team, combined with the horrified expressions of death of the crew and the dog on board, make this theory, although the most sketchy, the most unbelievable, but the most supported by many people.

However, a hypothesis is still a hypothesis, this could also be an accident or some kind of tragedy. Until now, the tragedy of the SS Ourang Medan is still shrouded in mystery and the story behind it will remain unanswered. 

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