From the “Flying Dutchman,” to “Davy Jones” the Seas have always been filled with tales of ghosts and ghost ships. However, a real “ghost yacht,” was recently found adrift 50 miles off the coast of the Philippines, with the mummified body of her Captain, still at the radio, apparently trying to make a mayday call!

The doomed Captain of the yacht, named “Sayo,” was identified as Manfred “Fritz” Bajorat, a German adventurer who was last seen in 2009. Fishermen found his boat in the seas off Surigao del Sur province, about 50 miles off the Philippines. His grey and mummified corpse was preserved by dry ocean winds, hot temperatures and the salty air. According to reports, he still sat at a desk near the radio equipment on the 40ft yacht, which was partially submerged as it bobbed in the rough waters.

Fritz in Life, and Preserved in Death

Fritz in Life, and Preserved in Death

A Mystery at Sea

Like so many legends of the sea, Bajorat’s death remains a bit of a mystery. Authorities cannot say with any certainty what led to his death, nor why no one had reported him missing since 2009. A sailor who did know him, and was one of the last to see him said, “He was a very experienced sailor. I don’t believe he would have sailed into a storm.” One of the masts was broken, and there was some other damage to the yacht, but this sailor, identified only as “Dieter,” added… “I believe the mast broke after Fritz was already dead.”

Authorities believe Bajorat may have suffered a heart attack, but have not ruled out foul play. Dr Mark Benecke, a forensic criminologist in Cologne, said: “The way he is sitting seems to indicate that death was unexpected, perhaps from a heart attack.”

The Sayo Bobs Partially Submerged

The Sayo Bobs Partially Submerged

His eerily preserved body was found among photographs and a haunting letter to his wife, Claudia, who died from cancer in 2010.

The German embassy in Manila is trying to trace family in Germany. It is believed he has a daughter, Nina, who is a captain of a freighter vessel.

The Route He May Have Taken

The Route He May Have Taken

 

On Demand Yachting Takes the Mystery Out of Yacht Safety

While this story may seem more suited for the pages of “Ripley’s Believe it or Not,” than here on our FYM blog, it still is one of those interesting tales of the sea.

While what lead to the tragic fate of this Captain and his doomed yacht is still under investigation, and may never be known, the story also reminds us of the value of a well maintained vessel, and of never traveling alone!

With our On Demand Yachting solution you can always make sure you are heading out with your yacht in top operational condition, and with a Captain and crew that has been completely vetted, and is committed to the safety of you and your guests.

 

Operating a motor yacht can be costly. Putting your boat in Charter can earn income, and defray some of the costs of ownership. On Demand Yachting from FYM can show you how. If you would like to learn more, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Yacht Management specialists, or call us at (954) 900-9968.