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Background Story of SS Alkimos, The Haunted Ship In Perth!

Since man first sailed the seas, haunted ships have piqued the interest of the human mind. Humans can’t stay away from the sea, despite the hazards that come with it. We’re drawn to the water for a variety of reasons: travel, wealth, and pure curiosity.

Despite this, some seamen have persevered against all odds when confronted with these risks. However, in order to overcome insurmountable odds, you must perform the seemingly impossible. Some journeyed across frigid countries, some traversed the hazardous stretch of the open ocean in a small boat, and yet others were forced to resort to cannibalism–but they all made it.

Picture: ABC News

The ship was built in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1943 as part of the American Liberty ship programme for World War II. It was completed in ten days. It was renamed ‘Viggo Hansteen’ after being reassigned to the Norwegian Shipping and Trade Mission on October 11th.

She served in the Mediterranean for 18 months, crewed by sailors of various nationalities, hauling goods and operating as a troopship in convoys that were frequently attacked by German planes and U-boats. During this time, rumors began to circulate that construction workers had been welded between the ship’s plating during construction, and crew members began to experience paranormal activity on board, all while the ship miraculously avoided U Boat torpedoes as sibling ships were hit and sunk.

In August 1944, while stationed in Naples, Italy, a strange murder-suicide occurred on board a World War II commerce ship. Ms. Maude Steane, a Canadian radio operator, was shot and killed by a Norwegian gunnery officer. Because the crime was so heinous, it was kept hidden from the public eye, with the military claiming Steane was killed by enemy fire. She was the first woman from Toronto to die in the military.

Picture: Imgur

After the war, the two-year-old liberty ship was decommissioned and sold to a Greek shipping business. The Alkimos was renamed once more. The paranormal activity persisted for the next 18 years, until 1963. Various crews came and went, many of whom were horrified by true ghost sightings and terrifying encounters. The ship perished as soon as she was born. She inexplicably ran aground on a windless and dead quiet sea at nightfall in May 1964, without any sort of power or human control. On a submerged limestone reef outcrop, she broke her back and ruptured. As she wailed into her final death throws, the sea flooded within her. The Alkimos were designated as a sunk ship.

Picture: Australian Maritime Museums Council

Her owners later sold the Alkimos for scrap. In 1969, however, a mystery fire drove salvage workers away from the ruins. During this time, one of the salvage workers also reported hearing eerie noises. Following this period, the ship’s partially dismantled wreckage rested in several meters of water, visible to visitors but slowly deteriorating.

The Alkimos remained a landmark for the following 40 years, rusting away from the incessant hammering of the Indian Ocean. Several salvage crews visited throughout the years, and numerous caretakers lived on board. The Alkimos have been linked to injuries, disappearances, weird sightings, boat engines malfunctioning nearby, and even deaths.

Picture: Australian Maritime Museums Council

Today, the wreck site is surrounded by the 21st-century metropolis of ‘Alkimos.’ Paranormal activity on the beach near to the remains of the real ghost ship is still being reported to this day.

With strange happenings and allegations troubling the vessel’s past, it’s little surprise it’s been dubbed “jinxed” and “haunted.” The following are some of the more well-known legends about the bad-luck shipwreck:

  • Welders were sealed between hulls during its rapid construction, and their ghosts have plagued the vessel ever since.
  • During the ship’s service, a little puppy appeared in the engine room.
  • A woman working as a caretaker on board suffered a catastrophic fall, culminating in the early birth of a stillborn baby.
  • Hearing footsteps on ladders, cooking odors and noises originating from the kitchen gallery, and tools being handled by invisible hands were all reported by salvage personnel occupying the wreck.
  • After investigating this ship, Jack Wong Sue, author of Ghost of Alkimos, was hospitalized with respiratory illnesses.
  • While stranded, the ship was bought and sold at least eight times, with speculation that the acquisitions were doomed (bankruptcy and life-threatening illnesses).
  • The human skull of Herbert Voigh, a well-known long-distance swimmer who vanished in 1969 while attempting to swim between Cottesloe Beach and Rottnest Island, was discovered near the wreck.

Sources: Jack Wong Sue, Perth Girl, Pocket Oz ,

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