A ghost ship, also known as a phantom ship, is a ship with no living crew aboard; it may be a ghostly vessel in folklore or fiction, such as the Flying Dutchman, or a real derelict found adrift with its crew missing or dead under unknown circumstances, like the Mary Celeste. The term is sometimes used for ships that have been decommissioned but not yet scrapped,
as well as drifting boats that have been found after breaking loose of
their ropes and becoming carried away by the wind or the waves.
After passing Santa Maria Island in the Azores on 25 November 1872 (the last entry on the ship’s slate), the SV Mary Celeste, a merchant brigantine became derelict in unknown circumstances. No boats were found on board. She was found on 4 December 1872 between mainland Portugal and the Azores archipelago. The ship was devoid of all crew, but largely intact and under sail, heading toward the Strait of Gibraltar. The Octavius, an English trading ship returning from China, was supposedly found drifting off the coast of Greenland. The captain’s log showed that the ship had attempted the Northwest Passage,
which had never been successfully traversed. The ship and the bodies of
her frozen crew apparently completed the passage after drifting amongst
the pack ice for 13 years. X