Friday, March 13, 2015

The Disappearance of the USS Cyclops

Disappearance of USS Cyclops – 306 Crew/Passengers

The USS Cyclops was one of the four Proteus class collier’sships which was commissioned during the World War I and was launched on May 1, 1917 with Lieutenant Commander G.W. Worly in command of the ship. It was named for the Cyclops, a primordial race of giants from Greek mythology and was the second U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name.

The disappearance of the ship together with 306 crew and passengers on board without any trace within the area of the Bermuda Triangle around 4 March 1918 was the largest loss of life in U.S. Naval history which did not directly involve any battle. At the time of its disappearance it was the largest collier in the United States Navy’s fleet with a cargo capacity of over 10,000 tons. It is left to the imagination to consider the destruction of a massive ship of that size to disappear so rapidly without even a distress call.

Since the incident occurred during wartime, it was presumed that she could have been captured or sunk by German raider or submarine since the ship was known to be carrying 10,800 long tons of manganese ore which was used to produce munitions though German authorities had denied any knowledge at that time regarding the same and there is no German record of an attack on the ship.

No Trace of Any Distress Call

According to the Naval History and Heritage Command it was stated that the ship could have probably sunk in an unexpected storm though the cause was unknown. Her first known journey was during wartime service, a trip to St. Nazaire, France in June 1917 and had returned to the east coast of United State the following month and operated there till January 1918 besides a short trip to Nova Scotia.

The collier ship was assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service on January 9, 1917 and was thereafter sent to Brazil to help in the refuelling of British ship there. The ship had left Brazil on February 16, 1918 and on March 3 and 4, was considered to be in the Barbados which was the last of what was seen or heard of the ship. There was no trace of any distress call at that time nor debris, wreckage or any evidence nor was the ship found.

Mystery - Unsolved

With 306 passengers as well as crewmen on board the ship, it was presumed that all had been dead. The area where the USS Cyclops had disappeared is known to be the infamous Bermuda Triangle and USS Cyclops is one of the several ships which have been reported missing in that area. Besides this, other issues have also been reported with regards to the Bermuda Triangle which includes the malfunctioning of navigational equipment.

Some were of the belief that there could have been alien activity or other paranormal phenomena happening in the area. However it was a known fact that the stretch of ocean had at times unpredictable weather conditions as well as turbulent waters and whatever could have occurred at that time could have been related to nature.

Several theories have come up though none have proved it with real facts and evidence and even after some 15,000 page report from the US Navy research, most of the explanations remain a mystery and till date the disappearance is considered as one of the greatest mysteries of the ocean.

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