May 29, 2019






A mystery of the sea was taken from the Gibraltar Chronicle, 13 December 1872 and reported by “ The Star “ newspaper of St. Peter Port, Guernsey, England, Tuesday, 18 February 1873.

The Star newspaper announced the arrival of the vessels, Dei Gratia and Mary, Celeste, the Mary Celeste under tow of the Dei Gratia, found abandoned at sea.

The report of an extraordinary inquiry follows; The December 13 report by the master of the British ship Dei Gratia put notice that 5 December last, was found in Latitude 28.20, longitude 17.15, a derelict ship which they made out to be the American brigantine Mary Celeste and fell in with her the Dei Gratia was on port tack with a north wind while the Mary Celeste, with jib and foremast staysail set, was on a starboard tact., and that the derelict was sound and without reason no cause for abandonment.

A special survey was held and reported, the cargo, barrels of alcohol, well stored, in good condition except one which was spent. The survey of the ship's interior proved there was no accident and no weather damage evident. The hull, mast and yard goods in good condition as was the 6-foot high deckhouse, Captains quarters, seamen chest dry and in order. New paint had no cracks and razors had no rust. There was no reason for abandonment. In addition, a sword was found with smears of blood, blood was found on the topgallant rail. The was no bill of laden nor manifest on board. Effects in the Captains cabin were of considerable value and showed proof a lady and a child had been on board.

The ships log book found on board showed the last day of work was 24 November and placed the Mary Celeste in latitude 36.56 N, longitude 27.20 W. log in ended at 8 a.m., November 25. noting she passed W to E north of Azores St. Mary's Island. Six miles SSW the eastern point, indicating the abandoned ship keep her due course 10 days after the 24th. November, the helm being loose all the time.

Her Captain, B S. Briggs, was well known in Gibraltar and bore the highest of character. Mary Celeste was built in Nova Scotia and left New York for this voyage the 5th of November for Genoa, Italy, a found one month later adrift. Mary Celeste was built at Spencers Island, Nova Scotia, launched as the Amazon in 1861. Registered as American in 1868 and named the Mary Celeste. She was wrecked in 1885 on Haiti as an insurance fraud case.


Abstract: St. Peter Port The Star, Guernsey, England, Tuesday 18 February 1873


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