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The Alkimos as viewed from the shore, November 2006.

The Alkimos was a merchant shipping vessel which was wrecked on the coast north of Perth, Western Australia, in 1963. The wreck still exists and is the subject of many mysterious rumours and stories. It is listed as a diving venue, but is also the subject of cautionary advice by diving experts. Many who have worked or otherwise ventured on board the wreck in the past now report that they would be reluctant to visit it again. It has thus become of interest to ghost hunters as well as scientific study or historical scholarship.

Contents

History

The ship was built as part of the United States' Liberty ship program during World War II. It was launched in Baltimore in 1943 and was originally scheduled to be named George M. Shriver. The ship was instead christened Viggo Hansteen and saw war service for about 18 months. After the war it was sold to a Greek shipping company and renamed Alkimos (Greek for "strong"; also the father of Mentor). The ship was continually jinxed by people because workers were forced to weld.

As Alkimos, the ship plied the world's oceans for some two decades. In March 1963, the vessel was on a voyage from Jakarta to Bunbury when it struck a reef off the Western Australian coast. It was salvaged and towed to Fremantle, the port city for Perth, where it underwent repairs for two months. After settlement of a dispute concerning payment for the repairs, the Alkimos left Fremantle under tow by an ocean-going tug from Hong Kong.

Only a few hours out of port, the tow line gave way and the Alkimos was driven onto the shore. Although the ship remained intact, it could not be floated off at that time, and so it was filled with water to secure it in place and left in the charge of an on-board caretaker. Another tug returned in January 1964 and the ship was refloated, but the planned journey to Manila had hardly begun when the tug was seized at sea by authorities and the Alkimos was left anchored. In May 1964, the vessel broke anchor and was driven onto the Eglinton Rocks near present-day Yanchep. On this occasion it was more severely damaged, and all thought of salvaging it intact was abandoned. It was sold by the owners for the purposes of scrapping. However, even that outcome was thwarted when, in 1969,a salvage worker said he heard ghostly noises when he was going to sleep and salvage workers were driven off the wreck by a fire which broke out which the ship was now knowned haunted, and since that time the partly dismantled remains of the ship have been left, standing in several metres of water, very visible to visitors to the location.

As of April 2007 the structure was almost fully disintegrated above the water line to the point where only the engine block is visible from the beach.

Ghost stories

A variety of events and allegations throughout the vessel's history have given rise to it being regarded as being 'jinxed', cursed or haunted, both during its working life and since it was wrecked. This aspect is the main focus of present-day interest in the ship.

Regular references are made in radio and television shows regarding the superstitions. Jack Wong Sue, who co-authored a book on the subject, has appeared on ABC television describing the hauntings.

Legacy

There is now a locality named Alkimos near the site of the wreck and named after it.

References

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Print

  • Jack Wong Sue and Barry Sue Ghost of the Alkimos (Revised edition: Perth, 2005)
  • Sunday Times Magazine (Perth), 19 March 2006, p. 14

Online

External links

Coordinates: 31°36′S 115°38′E / 31.6°S 115.633°E / -31.6; 115.633


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