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.
Images of the ship show the name "Tamaya 1" on its hull. Tamaya 1 is a Panamanian-registered tanker, according to MarineTraffic.com, which provides vessel tracking and ship information services . MarineTraffic.com data show the ship's last known position was off the coast of West Africa on April 22.
Further, only one of the two lifeboats on the tanker 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.)
This article originally appeared on Newser: Ghost Ship Found in Liberia Was Gutted by Fire