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  • Is this the fabled ‘ghost ship’that’s believed to have sunk over 300 years ago killing 400 on board?



    Once upon a time there was a huge steam ship filled with passengers leaving a quaint town. But, the ill-fated ship sank with all of its 400 passengers on board. Ever since, the location where the ship sank in the sea has been haunted, with the souls of the gloomy, dead passengers haunting whoever passes by at night. They moan and take out their anger on the living, begging for attention and some relief from their after-life.

    Thus goes the legend of a mysterious wreck in the Bay of Bengal popular among the fishing community of  Visakhapatnam.  And till recently, the wreck was nothing more than an apparition; a bed-time tale told to scare toddlers. Or so it was believed. But Vizag-based scuba diver, Balaram Naidu claims he’s discovered the remnants of that doomed ship lying in the Bay of Bengal.

    “I don’t want to reveal where the wreck is yet, but the fishing community here has always had many interesting tales to tell about it,” says Balaram Naidu, owner of an adventure sports firm in the city.

    From the pictures of the remnants of the said wreck that Balaram shared with Vizag Times, one can see various parts of the ship scattered around. “The shaft, motor, furnace and the rest of the main body are intact. The keel, decks and other parts of the ship have spread all over the place. The furnace even holds beautiful aqua life in it and is filled with fishes, eels and turtles,” explains Balaram.

    But how did the adventure enthusiast even find the wreck in the first place? “We have been struggling to find wrecks in the sea for three years now and been taking the help of the fishing community to find them. But they can’t dive deep into the water, so they point out possible wreck sites to us and we dive to see if they’re actually there. We learnt about this site from the fishermen’s tales. We found the debris during our first few dives and it took us a while to find the wreck too,” he says, elated.

    While the mention of the eerie wreck brings out excitement in Balaram, it incites fear in the fishing community. The fishermen are dead sure that this is the sunken ship that their forefathers warned them about. “I don’t know how old the ship is and when it sunk there. But generations of our children have grown up listening to tales of how 400 passengers on board died when this ship sank. I heard the story from my father, who heard the story from my grandfather and so on. My father is 85-years-old now, I think the ship sunk 300 years ago maybe. But this is the first time I’ve heard of someone actually finding it,” says Satti, a fisherman.

    But why does the ship-wreck incite fear in these fishermen? “It’s not just me, anyone who has fished around that area will tell you that they feel scared to venture there. Because a lot of us who fished in that area at night, have felt someone hitting us on our backs. That’s why we avoid venturing there at night. Even when we do go that side, we go in large numbers and prefer not to catch fish there.”

    Balaram however wants to find the ship’s origins and believes it sunk while it was leaving Vizag harbour. “The shaft is towards Vizag, this could mean that it sunk while it was leaving the harbour. I want to find out more details about the ship and I’m hoping its records can be found at the court. They will hopefully have the navigation records.”

    For Balaram the finding of a coral in the sea few weeks back and now, the wreck just reinstates the fact that Vizag has the potential to be an attractive dive site. “In fact, it could be the best dive site in India,” he says. “Scuba divers love reef diving and wreck diving, and the latter is something a lot of divers opt for because it’s exciting.”

    Previously too, Balaram Naidu had told Vizag Times that he is planning to present a proposal to the tourism department to develop Vizag as a wreck diving destination. If the proposal does indeed materialise, then civilians would be able to access the wreck of PNS Ghazi, that only divers of Indian Navy are privy to so far.

    “I know for a fact that the remains of Ghazi lie 30 meters deep in the ocean and that the debris is entangled in fishing nets,” he says. Apart from the wreck of PNS Ghazi, and now this steam ship, the debris of a goods ship lies at the continental beach near Dolphin Hill.

    “I will soon submit a proposal imploring the Tourism Department to turn the ship wreck we discovered now and PNS Ghazi into wreck diving sites. It can transform the tourism scenario not just in Vizag but all of India,” he sums it up.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Visakhapatnam News / by Neeshita Nyayapati / TNN / January 06th, 2018

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