Friday, January 11, 2013
ghost ship vanishes
How and why this desolated, outrageous, and haunted ruin came to stay in Port Ludlow remains somewhat mysterious. The tugboat owner who was towing it past our little community on that fateful day materialized out of nowhere to announce to the surprised and amazed marina manager that she could either find a place to moor it or he would anchor it in the middle of Ludlow Bay. Either way, it was going no further.
The tugboat owner was apparently weary of dealing with the hulk's owner, a bundle of loose ends and meaningless promises named George, who thenceforth became the Ludlow marina's problem. So there the New Star sat, an enormous hunk of junk so ugly and demoralized it rendered former million-dollar views of the marina utterly worthless.
I drove over to the marina intending to take some pictures of it one day. It was hard to find a legit parking space down there, the weather was blustery and uninviting, and it looked to be about 100 yards out to the end of the pier where the 180-foot vessel was tied up. However, the main reason I didn't closely approach the ship that day was that it scared me. There's a giant, discolored gap in the hull on the starboard side, and the superstructure that used to occupy the ship's aft section is entirely gone.
What concerned me most, however, was a thick and very distinct feeling of evil karma and very bad juju emanating from the wreck. Something extremely nasty was tied to the Ludlow pier. It seems this ship was sunk by the Russian navy four years ago, near the eastern port of Vladivostok, after delivering a cargo of rice to a dissatisfied customer. Operated by a Chinese firm, the Sierra-Leone-flagged vessel attempted to leave port without permission, prompting nearby Russian naval vessels to light it up with over 500 artillery rounds. This was in very bad weather, with the result that half the crew of 16 lost their lives.
For unknown and possibly unknowable reasons, the wreck of the New Star, whose only cargo henceforth would be a load of bad karma, was subsequently pulled from the bottom. How and why the inscrutable George came into possession of her might be a question best left unasked.
By early December, Port Ludlow authorities, like the tugboat owner before them, had grown weary of George and his endless store of boundless optimism. They had some time since appealed for help to the state Department of Natural Resources, which informed George on December 3 that he had 30 days to move the New Star, or the state would take possession of it. George responded that he was "diligently working on a plan," upon which he was presumably still hard at work when the state seized the wreck on January third.
The DNR promised to move the ship quickly, so this morning I decided I should get over there and get some pictures of it before it left us for good. I had thought about my fears of the hulk and decided it would be good to work through them. But when I got over there about noon, the New Star was gone.
The state was as good as its word, and must have towed the engineless wreck out yesterday or this morning. It was still there on Wednesday.
They're taking it to one of three undisclosed locations. Why this information is such a closely-guarded state secret I have not a clue, since, being a state secret, the reason it's secret is also a secret. However, I have a feeling that the state's plan to solicit bids from firms wanting to cut the wreck into scrap will come to naught, because the New Star is now a ghost ship, like the Flying Dutchman, and will always be somewhere. It's never a good idea to exhume the dead.
Photo by Charlie Bermant, Peninsula Daily News,