They float by the spine-chilling pages of many a sea-faring yarn – the ghost ships which sail eternally to hang-out the dwelling seas. However as soon as, within the English Channel, an actual ghost ship sailed. The story began with a collision in thick fog.
The 2 ships which collided have been the French steamer Frigorifique constructed 1869. A ketch rigged steamer of 715 tons, carrying wine from Bordeaux to Rouen and the British 522 ton collier Rumney, constructed 1879, crusing from Cardiff with 920 tons of coal certain for Rochefort. They collided off Ile de Seine throughout a thick, foggy morning on nineteenth March, 1884.
The Rumney was steering S.E. by S. on sluggish engines along with her steam whistle sounding at common intervals. When the lookout heard a noise on the port bow, instantly the captain reversed engines to full astern, the place the Frigorifique, shifting at appreciable velocity (later denied by the Frigorifique) on a westerly course, was seen crossing the bows of the Rumney, shifting from port to starboard. The wheels of each ships have been put over exhausting a starboard however the collision couldn’t be prevented, the stem of the Rumney coming involved with the opposite vessels starboard quarter, chopping half manner throughout her deck. Within the collision, the helm of the Frigorifique was compelled and jammed exhausting a port, the helmsman being thrown utterly over the wheel. As the 2 vessels remained caught collectively for a time and the Frigorifique appeared to be taking up water, the French crew of twenty-two arms instantly deserted their ship and jumped aboard the Rumney after which the Frigorifique, who’s engines have been nonetheless going forward, slipped away and disappeared into the fog.
With the survivors on board, the Rumney sailed on. All of the sudden, the Frenchmen cried out in concern. For subsequent an incredible ship loomed silently out of the fog, narrowly lacking the Rumney. It was the French ship which they assumed had sunk.
And twenty minutes later, the ‘ghost ship’ once more loomed out of the fog, as soon as extra bearing down on the British ship. This time there was no escape. With a deafening crash the Frigorifique’s bows smashed into the starboard quarter of the collier. Inside seconds, the Rumney was sinking, sending her 15 males operating to the ships lifeboat and punt whereas the French crew went for the pinnace. The French ship had its revenge. The 2 crews within the boats gave chase and succeeded in boarding the runaway ship, and her engines have been stopped, however shortly afterwards it was found she was additionally sinking, nevertheless each crews have been saved and assisted ashore by some fishermen.
Because the fog lifted, and the survivors of each ships noticed the French ship clearly throughout the ocean, the sinister thriller was defined. The Frigorifique had not sunk after that first collision. Together with her boilers nonetheless working and her rudder jammed by the collision, the deserted ship had continued to steam in a full circle, twice crossing the trail of the collier. Solely then, following her revenge, her lethal haunting was completed, did she lastly sink.