Ghost Ship

by wjw on November 1, 2016

pict0124Wanna hear a ghost story?  (It’s still Halloween in the States, I believe, though I’m on the far side of the dateline myself.)

This is the story of an unknown ship, known as the “depth charge wreck” or the “helmet wreck,” from its cargo.  It was a Japanese sub-chaser sunk during the Second World War, probably in 1944, though there is no record of it.  No one knows the ship’s name. or the names of the crew, or when it was sunk or by what means.  It wasn’t even discovered till the 1980s.  Strange, because it’s right off the harbor of Koror, and you’d think people would remember it going down.

Here we see some artifacts left on the deck by the crew.  A porcelain vessel with its markings still readable, and a gas mask still attached to its oxygen bottle, possibly used by a crewman to fight the fires started by whatever bomb or torpedo sank the vessel.

No one knows if anyone died defending the ship, or if any of the attackers became casualties.  The hold is full of depth charges, which fortunately were placed on safety before the ship went down.  There are stacks of helmets, sake and beer bottles, rifles and ammunition, the forward winch, the antiaircraft gun still trained out over the stern.

Do ghosts haunt the ship, standing by to defend her and her cargo against attackers?  To man the gun, roll the depth charges, crank the winch, fight the fires?

Do they know the war is over, that they can go home?  Or is the wreck now their home, and do the find contentment amid the growing coral incrustations, the beautiful anemone and reef fish that share the crew’s lodgings?

Can you see them?  Can you hear them?

And if they could speak, what would they say?

mark November 1, 2016 at 11:51 am

Yeah, well, it’s *way* to small to be rebuilt into a space battleship to defend the Earth…

Ralf T. Dog November 1, 2016 at 12:21 pm

How does the safety on a depth charge work? Does it remain safe after sitting all those years in salt water?

kpacheneg November 1, 2016 at 1:03 pm

I hope the explosive compounds have become chemically degraded by seawater or time.

wjw November 2, 2016 at 12:12 am

All I can say is that the charges haven’t blown up as yet.

I’ve been diving a number of wrecks loaded with munitions, and so far they seem safe enough . . .

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