World famous Maritime Mystery

Mary Celeste

Probably the most famous was the mystery of the Mary Celeste, a brigantine, discovered in the Atlantic Ocean in 1872, unmanned and under full sail, heading towards Gibraltar. Of her people on board nothing has ever been learned. She had sailed with a Captain and a crew of seven, plus the Captain's wife and two year old daughter.

She had set off on November 5 from New York, headed for Genoa with a cargo of alcohol. Just a month later, she was discovered drifting by another sailing ship, the Dei Gratia. They boarded the ship, finding her in generally good condition. One lifeboat had been launched, and the Captain's sextant and chronometer were missing. The last log book entry had been made on 24th November, showing her west of the Azores. The Mary Celeste was world news at the time, but no conclusions were ever reached. Some suspicion fell on the crew of the Dei Gratia after they returned her to Spain, and as a result of this they were rewarded only one fifth of what they should have been awarded for bringing the ship home. 

Source: http://www.sail-world.com/cruising/index.cfm?nid=43462&rid=11