THE STORY OF A GHOST SHIP IN THE ANTARCTICA “MAR SEM FIM”
In the photograph you can see a boat resting under the icy waters of Antarctica, in Fildes Bay (or Maxwell Bay), near King George Island; a sunken ship in a kind of ice chest ready for eternity.
How long had that ship been there, which many classified as a “ghost”? Was the ice the final destination of the ship?
It is the Brazilian ship “Mar sem fim”, a 20-meter-long yacht owned by the Brazilian journalist and writer, Joao Lara Mesquita, who was sailing in the region to produce a documentary.
The ship suffered an accident on April 7, 2012 just in front of the Presidente Eduardo Frei Chilean Antarctic Base, due to the compression of the ice and the adverse weather conditions, for which they evacuated its four crew members before they were engulfed by the Water. At night they went to bed watching how the ice surrounded the yacht. “The next day we only saw the bow and the signal pole,” recalls the captain.
Mar sem fim
At the end of May 2012 two expeditions, one Russian and the other Chinese, set out to sail through Fildes Bay. Among its crew was the photographer Ruslan Eliseev, the author of the photo. The ice had retreated and the spectacle that the Russians and Chinese observed was amazing: the boat under the water at a very shallow depth looked ghostly, as if they saw the Titanic in small, but without the need to submerge in the water.
However, the ice was not the final bed of the “Mar sem fim” thanks to the Antarctic Treaty, which prohibits the use of heavy fuels in Antarctica and the countries responsible for refloating any ship that capsizes in those waters, to avoid contamination of the purest ecosystem that we still have.
So almost a month after the shipwreck, members of the Chilean Navy and the Brazilian Navy submerged in the waters of Bahía Fildes in order to verify the levels of contamination in the area of the sinking, managing to verify a spill of diesel fuel from the boat, which stored approximately 8,000 liters.
It was necessary to get that ship out of there as quickly as possible, so the Brazilian Navy (the ship’s owner nation) began to plan the conditions for future refloating work on the ship, which was carried out in February 2013. .
Taking advantage of the good weather conditions in the area, the personnel of the Ultramare rescue company entered the Antarctic territory in order to transfer the Brazilian yacht to Punta Arenas. And after months of waiting on the ice, she was able to be raised from the icy waters with the help of the “Otway” Tugboat to this Chilean port, where she would be sold for scrap.
To honor her story, Joao Lara Mesquita is writing a documentary and a book about the rescue of the ship, which he reported promptly in a blog that, how could it be otherwise, she baptized as “Mar Sem Fim”. A blog that you should not miss if you want more details about this odyssey about a ship that went to Antarctica to make a documentary … and ended up becoming the protagonist of the film.