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Sardar Patel University

Information about H. M. Patel, the Ex. Finance Minister, Ex. Chairman of Charutar Vidya Mandal, Founder of H. M. Patel Institute of English Training and Research and Sardar Patel University. The introdcution refers to the integration of audio-video programmes in the teacher education programmes offered by the ELT Institute.

Strange disappearances at sea

Of all the strange disappearances at sea, the most bizaare is that of Mary celeste.

More than a century ago, the ship was found floating in the Atlantic ocean. The captain and the crew were all missing. What happened to them remains a mystery even to-day.

The ship was initially named Amazon. Following an accident, the ship was reconditioned and named Mary Celeste.

On November 7, 1872 the ship loaded with alcohol and wine left New York port and set sail for Genova in Italy.

It had a crew of seven in addition to the captain Benjamin Briggs, his wife and their young daughter. The whereabouts of the ship afterwards became unknown until December 4, 1872.

On December 4th, 1872, the ship Dei Gratia found Mary celeste which was floating 700 miles of the coast of Gibraltar. A rescue party from Dei Gratia boarded the ship. They found everything was o.k. including the cargo and the ship’s money box. However the ship’s paper and chronometer were missing. The last entry in the captain’s log book contained nothing unusual. There was no anticipation of any danger. Well then what happened to the crew and captain and his family. There are several conflicting versions as to what the rescue party found in the ship. There was blood in the ship and also some weapons lying about. Another version has it that they abandoned playing cards in progress, a half eaten breakfast and shaving razor with soap on brush.

About the fate of the persons on board here also several theories have been put forward.

1) The ship was attacked by pirates

2) An abandoned ship can be claimed as a booty by the finder. On this basis people have theorized that captain of Dei Gratia (which found the abandoned ship) had earlier planted some of his men as crew of Mary Celeste. At the appointed time, they revolted, killed everybody and waited for Dei Gratia to arrive and claim it as booty.

3) A scientific explanation has been offered also. The Mary Celeste was carrying large quantity of alcohol in casks . The movement of the ship would have resulted in alcohol rubbing against the surface and produced static electricity. A ship crew with a cigarette in his mouth might have opened one of the casks. The result would have been a minor explosion.

On hearing the noise, the captain and the crew might have panicked and feared that the ship might explode. They might have decided to temporarily abandon the ship. For this purpose, it is likely they untied the life boat from the ship and got into it. We can only surmise that due to some unforeseen weather conditions, the rope connecting ship to the life boat might have snapped. The result would have been that the life boat was tossed about in the sea and everyone perished.

This may satisfactory explain the abandon card game, the half finished meal on a plate and the open razor.

While we can only guess what actually happened to the captain and the crew remains a complete mystery even after 100 years.