The mysterious disappearance of the SS Marine sulfur queen

The mysterious disappearance of the SS Marine sulfur queen
16 March 2024 J.W.H

One of essentially the most surprising maritime mysteries of the twentieth century is the disappearance of the tanker SS Marine Sulfur Queen, which disappeared within the Straits of Florida in 1963 with 39 crew members on board.

The ship was carrying a cargo of molten sulfur, a highly flammable and corrosive substance that required special handling and equipment. What happened to the ship and its crew stays a mystery to at the present time, despite extensive investigations and searches.

Despite the clear explanation for the disaster, an inaccurate and incomplete version of the ship's disappearance is usually used to justify Bermuda Triangle conspiracies.

The history of the ship and its last voyage

The SS Marine Sulfur Queen was originally built because the SS Esso New Haven, a T2 tanker that transported oil during World War II. In 1960, it was adapted to move molten sulfur by the Bethlehem Steel Company.

The conversion involved installing an enormous tank contained in the ship, surrounded by empty space and heated by steam pipes. The reservoir was divided into 4 smaller tanks, each holding roughly 3,800 tons of sulfur at 255 °F (124 °C).

The ship also had a sulfur pump room, sulfur control room and sulfur venting system.

On February 2, 1963, the SS Marine Sulfur Queen departed Beaumont, Texas, certain for Norfolk, Virginia, with a cargo of 15,260 tons of molten sulfur. The ship's crew consisted of 39 men, mostly from Texas and Louisiana. The captain was Francis X. Callahan, an experienced sailor with 25 years of experience.

The ship last communicated on February 4, when it sent a routine radio message reporting its position as 25°45′N 86°00′W, roughly 250 miles west of Key West, Florida. The weather was stormy, with strong winds and high waves. The ship was expected to reach in Norfolk on February 8.

The disappearance of the ship

On February 6, when the ship didn’t report its position, the Coast Guard initiated a search and rescue operation. The searches covered an area of ​​100,000 square miles and included planes, helicopters, ships and submarines.

The only traces of the ship found were life jackets, lifebuoys, rafts and debris. Some of the stays had traces of sulfur. No bodies or survivors were ever found.

The Coast Guard called off the search on February 25, stating that the ship and its crew were lost at sea.

Ship investigation

The Coast Guard has launched an investigation into the explanation for the ship's disappearance. The investigation revealed that the ship had experienced problems and accidents related to its sulfur cargo. The ship steadily suffered from leaks and fires within the sulfur system, causing damage to the hull and equipment. The crew often complained concerning the poor condition of the ship and the dearth of safety measures. The ship also experienced maintenance and inspection delays ahead of its final voyage.

An investigation found that the ship was unseaworthy and that it was dangerous to sail with molten sulfur. He suggested 4 possible causes of the disaster:

– Structural failure because of corrosion or stress that caused the ship to interrupt apart.

– Explosion or fire attributable to a leak or rupture in a sulfur plant, which ignited flammable vapors.

– Loss of stability because of the shifting or spilling of the sulfur cargo, which caused the ship to capsize.

– A mix of any of the above aspects.

The investigation also criticized the ship's owner, Marine Transport Lines Inc., for negligence and lack of supervision. The owner denied any responsibility and blamed the losses on weather and unknown forces.

More details
The stays of the SS Marine Sulfur Queen found by the US Coast Guard

The ship's legacy

The disappearance of the SS Marine Sulfur Queen stays one of the vital intriguing and mysterious cases in shipping history.

The memory of the SS Marine Sulfur Queen and her crew was honored with a commemorative plaque on the Beaumont Maritime Museum in Texas.

It has also been linked to the Bermuda Triangle phenomenon, as some consider that the ship fell victim to some paranormal or supernatural force on this region. However, there is no such thing as a evidence to support this theory.

The families of the missing crew members have filed lawsuits against the ship's owner, demanding compensation and justice. The case dragged on for years until a settlement was reached in 1971. Each family received $325,000.

Many have speculated that the Brimstone Queen's disappearance was the victim of piracy or sabotage. Although the ship was thoroughly searched by the U.S. Coast Guard, no wreck was ever found, making it one of the vital intriguing and mysterious disappearances in shipping history.

What actually happened to the tanker and where did the 39 passengers go? Has anyone survived piracy, where is the shipwreck? These are only a couple of questions which have not been answered for many years.

This makes the SS Marine Sulfur Queen one of the vital mysterious disappearances ever recorded.

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  • J.W.H

    About John:

    John Williams is a Reincarnationist paranormal Intuitive freelance writer...he is living proof of reincarnation existence, through his personal exploration, he has confirmed its authenticity through visits to the very lands where these events transpired.

    Through guided meditation/s using hemi-sync technology he has managed to recollect 3 previous lives to his own, that go back to the Mid to Late 19th century.

    JWH - "You are the GODS! - Inclusion of the Eternal Light of Love and you shall never die”.

    “Death is Just the Beginning of Life”