Ghost Ship Found in Liberia Was Gutted by Fire
Liberian government didn't realize the tanker was there for 2 days
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2016 9:13 AM CDT
The Tamaya 1's last signaled position.   (Marine Traffic)

(Newser) – On April 22, a 210-foot oil tanker signaled its position off the west coast of Africa, not far from its destination of Senegal. What transpired over the next two weeks is shrouded in mystery. The "ghost ship" washed ashore in Robertsport, Liberia, far from the intended port of Dakar, on May 3. Two days later, the Liberian Coast Guard (LCG) and country's maritime authority boarded and searched the Tamaya 1 and found the crew had vanished. The country's ministry of national defense now says the ship had been "gutted by fire, leaving the bridge (Upper and Control Center) burned along with all documents," per FrontPageAfrica. Further, only one of the two lifeboats on the tanker, reported as sailing under the Nigerian or Panamanian flag, was located by the LCG.

One last breadcrumb: The LCG heard from the Maritime Regional Monitoring Rescue Coordination Center that the tanker was seen by some fishermen to be in possible distress four days after its final signal. And that signal shouldn't have ceased, reports Motherboard, which explains tankers must regularly electronically transmit their position, speed, and direction for safety reasons. A marine monitoring expert tells the site two things could have transpired: The device could have been intentionally disabled, or it may have broken (but should have then been repaired). As for the flak Liberia is catching for the two-day period it was reportedly unaware of the ship's presence on its shore, a National Port Authority source tells the Liberian Daily Observer that Robertsport's lack of seaport contributed to the delay. (An adventurer's mummified body was found aboard a drifting yacht in February.)