Travel

The Ourang Medan

While rumors about the Silver Star’s gruesome discovery circulated wildly along the trade routes of the East Indies, the first official report of the event wouldn’t be published until May of 1952, at the kind of the Proceedings of the Merchant Marine Council, that was published by the US Coast Guard. Ship which never was. The first problem with attempting to ascertain what occurred at this now infamous Dutch freighter is the simple fact that there doesn’t seem to be any officials documents it existed in the first location. Some researchers have theorized that if the Ourang Medan was a real ship it likely hailed from Sumatra, which at that time was a colony of the Netherlands in what was referred to as the eastern Dutch Indies.

Ourang, is Indonesian for guy, and Medan, is the largest city on the island of Sumatra, that would designate this enigmatic freighter the Man from Medan. Writer and historian Roy Bainton, who has done a few the most exhaustive and revealing survey on the subject of SS Ourang Medan, fulfilled dead end after dead end in his pursuit of the authentic story of the passing ship. , First he went to the usual resources, but was not able to discover any mention of the ship in Lloyd’s Shipping registers or the Dictionary of Disasters at Sea, 1824-1962. Then he contacted the UK Admiralty, the Registrar of Shipping and seafarers and the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich all of whom told him that the only place to test Dutch Shipping documents was in Amsterdam.

Bainton searched the Dutch documents and also the Maritime Authority in Singapore to no avail. Just as he was about to give up his investigation and write the entire thing off as only old sailor yarn, Professor Bainton was contacted by Professor Theodor Sirsdorfer from Essen, Germany who’d been pursuing the case for the better part of 50 decades and was the first to disclose the names of the two American ships that had heard the Ourang Medan’s SOS calls. Siersdorfer additionally led Bainton to a 32 page German booklet written in 1954 by Otto Mielke, entitledDas Totenschiffin der Sü, dsee, or Death Ship from the South Sea. , One is forced to wonder if Mielke had a contact with one of the Silver Stars notoriously tough to find crewmen. Milke’s brochure was also the origin of the June, 1947 date and added yet another compelling piece to the puzzle, which helped to reignited Bainton’s interest in the undertaking. Much more terrifyingly, according to Bainton, is the conjecture that the Ourang Medan could were smuggling nerve gas or more insidious biological weapons made by a menacing assembly of Japanese scientists whose experiments were so heinous that a number of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazi’s in the name of science light by comparison.