Lying off the coast of Western Australia, close to Yanchep, is the ruins of a merchant sea vessel that many believe is not only haunted but cursed as well.
The Alkimos was originally named the Viggo Hansteen and was used by the Norwegian Shipping and Trade Mission. It was built during World War 2 and saw active service, often transporting troops and cargo across the Mediterranean, for 18 months.
In August 1944, whilst docked at Naples, Canadian radio operator, Maude Steane was shot, and killed by another crew member, who then went on to commit suicide.
After the war, the ship was sold to a Greek company who then renamed it Alkimos, a Greek God who represents strength.
For the next 20 years, the Alkimos crossed the globe as a cargo vessel. In 1963 the vessel was in Australian waters, leaving Western Australia when it hit a reef off the coast. It was towed back to Fremantle for repairs.
It was then to be towed by an ocean-going tug from Hong Kong, but only a few hours from the port, the tow line snapped, and with the currents, the ship was driven into the shore. It couldn't be floated, so it was filled with water to make sure it didn’t move with the tides, and an on-board caretaker was installed to look after the ship and make sure no-one came to salvage its steel.
In January 1964 the ship was successfully re-floated and was ready to be pulled by tugboat to Manila when local authorities seized the Tugboat! - The Alkimos was left anchored where it sat, eventually the anchor broke and the ship, again held by the current, was moved along the shore, this time onto the Eglinton Rocks near Yanchep.
The damage this time was far too great for the ship to be re-floated, and it was abandoned where it sat. Salvage workers were invited to scrap the vessel, and began to do so – during this time the ship was owned by 8 different people, who it is said suffered a curse from the ship, with almost all dying inexplicably or suffering money problems, or illness – all their problems would seem to be cured or solved as since as the ship was sold on to the next person.
The workers hired to salvage the ship soon left the vessel after hearing ghostly noises and witnessing tools move on their own, some workers even reported tools disappearing before their eyes, only to return at a later time. Almost all the workers would not leave their cabins during the salvage at night, as they claimed ghostly footsteps would follow them down the hallways, there were also claims of seeing a spectre dressed in oilskins, and all crew would report the smell of food cooking in the galley, only to find upon investigation, no-one there.
Rumour also suggests that during the construction of the shipmen working on the hull had been welded inside the vessel and left there to die, only to come back to haunt and curse the ship.
Claims about the ships hauntings and curse do not end with just being on board, it is said horses will not pass the wreck when walking on the beach.
Cray fishermen have reported seeing the oil-skinned clothed ghost standing aboard the ship, and when investigated find no-one there.
Perhaps one of the strangest occurrences is that of Herbert Voight. Voight was a long distance swimmer who, it is said as part of his training, would tow behind him a plastic baby bath full of Emu Export Beer. Inexplicably during one of his training sessions, he disappeared, thought drowned. Later his skull found, washed up inside the body of the Alkimos.
The ship is often cited as cursed, with many visitors to the wreckage reporting injuries, near drownings, engines stopping and bad things happening to them after leaving the wreckage, could this be over-active imagination, or is there really something to curse and haunting of the Alkimos?
The Alkimos, after over 40 years of sitting on the Western Australian coastline is now nothing more than a rusted hulk of a ship that often disappears under the high tide, it still sits there, of the coastline of Western Australia, a cursed monument to a decaying ship of death.
© 2013 Allen Tiller
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