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Unsolved Mystery:SS Ourang Medan Freight Ship

Updated on September 27, 2014

On June 1947, a chilling call was received by two American and several ships including Dutch and British listening posts. Through triangulation the vessel that sent the distress call was identified as SS Ourang Medan, a Dutch freighter.

The chilling message received was: “All officers including captain are dead lying in chart room and bridge. Possibly whole crew is dead.” Some hard to decipher Morse code was heard, then one final disturbing message: “I die.” Silence ensued after this final message.


Once the location of the vessel was located, the closest ship to the vessel, an American merchant ship, Silver Star changed its course to help the crew on board of that freight ship.

In a few hours’ time, the Silver Star arrived but was met with a quiet sight, no crew visible above the decks of the ship. The ship was stationary. The crew of the Silver Star tried to hail the Dutch vessel by using hand signals, calls and whistles, but they received no response

This increased their curiosity. Something must be wrong. The ship is stationary and no one is visible.

The lack of response from the Dutch vessel indicated something was wrong, and fast action needed to be taken to save the crew even if there were any survivors, and possibly find the cause of the hushed silence. Their curiosity was aroused. The captain of the American merchant ship assembled a boarding party.

What the boarding party discovered was beyond the wildest dreams and imagination of Hollywood horror films. On the decks the dead bodies of the crews laid scattered. The dead body of the captain was on the bridge and his officers’ dead bodies were scattered from wheelhouse to chartroom and wardroom.

The expression on their faces is what caused adrenaline to pass through their body from head to toe. An experience very hard to erase from their minds. Their eyes were wide open, their faces facing upwards to the sun with some of the corpses, their arms outstretched. The look on their faces was one of terror. Their mouths open some of them in form of an animal snarling.


The ship’s operator (communication officer) who had sent the distress call was found dead, his fingers still on the Morse code keys (telegraph), sitting. The expression on his face was of a man snarling at something. An unseen force, maybe. The same case with the ship’s dog. Its frozen face with an expression of growling at something was evident.

When they entered the chartroom and boiler room of the Silver Star, they felt very cold. How could this possible when the temperatures outside was 43 degrees centigrade.

The captain determined it would be wise to attach a line to the Dutch vessel and tow her onto the dry land. This was never to be the case. As the crews were busy doing this, they saw smoke emanating from below the decks. The vessel had caught fire.

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They barely had time to cut the towline and return to their ship. The ship was about to explode. They had to make good return to their ship before they were caught in the middle of an explosion. Luckily, they had already reached their ship and watched from a distance as the ship exploded then sinking deep into the sea with its secrets of what might have caused the demise of the crews of the SS Ourang.

If the freight ship would not have exploded, the world would have known the cause of the deaths of the crews. As is the case no one knows for sure what happened. Speculations and imaginations are the only tools left to try to explain the deaths of the crews.


No injuries no wounds were found on any of the crews. So, what happened? No ones know for the theories that were raised to try to explain were met with objections, more questions raised with no appropriate answer.

The theories have gone as far as to claim the ship was attacked by aliens or pirates. Ghosts? Some believe the ship was hunted by ghosts. Others try to justify the ship’s boiler malfunctioned leading to leakage of carbon monoxide.

Did the ship carry chemicals which were not allowed, in secret? Did this ship ever existed? No records exists of the ship by the name of Ourang Medan. Is it a hoax? Is it one of those sea stories told of hunted ships? Nevertheless, one thing rings true: the existence of Silver Star, the American merchant ship is not disputed. Also, it is not disputed the American merchant ship did change its course.

Why were the dead bodies of the crews facing upward to the sky showing terror, their mouths agape, some of them as if they were snarling at something? Why were some of the corpses outstretched? Did they fell the presence of unseen force? Why they attacked by an unseen force? Or did they breathe a gas so lethal it led to their deaths?

The story of the ship of death the SS Ourang Medan

And why was their bodies decomposing at such a short time, barely 24 hours has passed?

All we are left with is our imagination, making good use of it; speculations reigning high in our minds as the studies that were done on this incident hit a dead end.


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