Friday, June 10, 2005

Tale of a Tugboat

Sailors for ages have told tales of jinxed vessels. If ever there was one, it had to have been a little tugboat named the Bratt. It sank in March 1956 in the Gulf of Mexico -- but that was neither the first nor last calamity that befell it. Weirdly, its sequence of astonishing mishaps all occurred in less than a week.

First, a barge it was towing sank in the waters of Mobile Bay. The next day, the Bratt’s captain suffered a heart attack and died at sea. The day after that, one of its crewmen fell overboard and was never seen again. Soon afterward, the Bratt itself sank while returning to port.

There’s more. The Bratt's owners quickly organized a salvage effort. One of them drowned when the boat in which he was working above the wreck site capsized.

Many other ships have had "haunted" histories, including the Great Eastern (more on that one, also known as the Leviathan, in a later blog). In most cases, however, their tragedies and enigmas took place over a period of years.


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