Saturday, July 11, 2015

Ghost Ship: Kaz ll

Kaz ll

A modern ghost ship mystery involves the disappearance of the 3-man crew aboard the Kaz ll. This mystery is often compared to the mystery that surrounds the ghost ship the Mary Celeste, which I write about here.

On April 20 in 2007 the sea was a bit choppy in northern Australia near the Great Barrier Reef but this was not something the 3-man experienced crew aboard the catamaran Kaz ll would have found challenging.

The owner of this sailing vessel Derek Batten had 25 years of nautical experience. Two of his neighbors, brothers—Peter and James Tunstead accompanied him. These two men had been sailing since their teen years and were savvy when it came to boat navigation and safety.

When the police boarded the drifting Kaz ll on the 20th they felt as if they had walked into an episode of The Twilight Zone. The vessel was unmanned.

The ship’s engines were running, there was food on the table and drying dishes at the sink and a laptop was on.

A videotape camera found onboard was used just 90 minutes before the crew inexplicitly vanished into thin air. It shows two of the men just before sunrise on deck, the sea was calm and the men’s behavior was casual.

When the authorities went onboard there was no sign of an impending disaster or any signs of violence—the only thing found amiss was a torn sail--so the police concluded there was no foul play. So why was the Kaz ll abandoned and where were the crew?

Police boat approaching the adrift
Kaz ll
The answers to these two questions remain unsolved. At the time some speculated that a freak wave might have swept the crew overboard or maybe one man fell in by accident and the other two met the same tragic fate while trying to rescue the first.

Some even speculated that drug runners or pirates forced the 3-man crew to abandon the ship. Others stated it was an insurance scam the 3 men cooked up. But all of this is just speculation and the fates of Batten and the Tunstead brothers remain an intriguing mystery.

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