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The Alkimos, The Ghost Ship in Western Australia

The wreck of the Alkimos once sat stranded and rusting away north of Mindarie Keys. The ship has been there since 1963 and anyone going too near to the ship is said to be plagued by bad luck. Strange lights have also been seen in the ship at night. The photo below was taken back in the late 1990s and since then most of the ship has broken up and disintegrated. The story of this ship stretches back to Baltimore U.S.A. in 1943 during World War II when it began its life as the liberty ship George M. Shriver. The ship seems to have been plagued with bad luck and rumours about deaths on board include the accidental sealing of a worker inside the double hull during the hasty construction and a murder suicide on board. 

Liberty ships were usually assembled from pre-fabricated parts in ten days. The George M. Shriver took six weeks as sections did not fit together, machinery broke down and accidents slowed down work. 

After an undistinguished war service during which the ship spent much of its time in dry dock being repaired, it was sold to a Norwegian company and re-named Viggo Hansteen. Despite the name change the bad luck did not go away. Accidents and repairs were frequent and in 1961 the ship collided with another vessel in a British harbour and was severely damaged. 

After the repairs were completed the ship was sold to a Greek firm and became the Alkimos. In 1963 the ship struck a reef off the coast between Perth and Geraldton. For some reason the Captain of the ship did not call for assistance for three days. When a tug arrived to help get the ship off the reef the Captain again refused help and attempted to get the ship off using just the ship's winches. This went on for a further two days before a salvage expert arrived. 

The ship was eventually re-floated and taken to Fremantle for repairs during which there was a fire and much of the inside of the ship was destroyed. Meanwhile as the grounding was investigated, the ships First Officer was fined for misleading the inquiry and the ship was impounded due to outstanding debts for earlier repairs. 

The owners paid all outstanding fees but decided not to waste any more money on the old ship. Arrangements were made to tow the ship to Hong Kong to be scrapped. An un-forecast gale hit the west coast not long after the ships left port and the tow line snapped. The Alkimos struck Eglington Rocks. 

Several attempts to salvage the ship were made but all were plagued with mishaps, breakdowns and in one case the owner of one salvage companies collapsed and died. Eventually the Alkimos was pulled free of the rocks by the tug Pacific Star that had come south from Manilla.

After only a couple of kilometres another vessel appeared and the Pacific Star was impounded for unpaid debts. The Alkimos was anchored but broke her chain in a heavy swell and for the third and last time she grounded. 

You might think that this would be the end of the story but far from it. members of the salvage crew were stationed on board to guard the ship but soon began to experience strange events. Unexplained noises, cooking smells and objects being moved all unnerved the salvage crew but when they saw a large man dressed in oil skins walk across the deck and vanish into a closed steel door they had had enough. 

Other salvage workers were put aboard as caretakers but all had stories to tell about the Alkimos ghost. The story of the ghost began to spread and it wasn't long before people began visiting the ship, some staying over night to try and get a glimpse of the ghost who by now had been given the name of Henry (reported as Harry in some sources). 

One party that spent time on board over night included Jack Sue (a member of Z Force during WWII and a recognised diver). With his war experience, Jack was not one to be frightened easily but during his dealings with the Alkimos he admitted to being affected by the strange noises and unexplained difficulties with equipment while on the ship. He returned with a TV crew some time later in the hope of documenting the strange goings on and again was confronted by odd phenomena. 

It is said that those who have chosen to associate themselves with the Alkimos suffer bad luck, accidents and even death as a result. The skull of a well known long distance swimmer (Herbert Voight) who vanished on a swim to Rottnest in 1969 was found near the ship (some say inside the ship). During its days of operation the unexplained sound of a barking dog was reported in the engine room and 25 years later when Jack Sue was investigating the ship the same noise was heard. 

Whatever the cause of all these things may be, the ship certainly had an unlucky history.

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