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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Decemystery 28: MV Joyita

The wreck of the MV Joyita.

The third and final ghost ship story I'm gonna cover this month. I was hesitant to cover this one as I wanted the Ourang Medan to be the ghost ship finale, but I'd say that the MV Joyita is a pretty good one to end on too.

With a length of 69 feet (don't you dare make a joke), a beam of 17 feet, this wooden (stay quiet) yacht was made for film director Roland West. The name—Joyita—means “little jewel” in Spanish and was named after West's wife, Jewel Carmenille. However, five years later, the boat was sold and registered to a man named Milton E. Beacon. From here, the Joyita went from owner to owner, with the following owner being the United States Navy, which stationed the Joyita at Pearl Harbor two months before the attack. Following its dismissal, the Joyita was sold to the firm of the Louis Brothers, then was sold to a one Dr. Katherine Luomala.

Although Dr. Luomala owned the Jovita in 1955, she has nothing to do with the story at hand. In fact, I can't find the names to anybody involved directly with this story. Fitting. Anyways, the Joyita left the Apia harbor of Samoa and was enroute to the Tokelau Islands. However, the ship—which was carrying sixteen people; nine of them passengers and one of those being a government official—never reached its destination.

It would take five weeks for the ship to be found; abandoned, covered in barnacle, and quote damaged. The flying bridge was smashed away, while the ship's deck house windows were broken. Meanwhile, due to the Joyita not carrying an adequate number of lifejackets for everyone on board, the life rafts and dinghy put in place of that were all missing.

Inside the ship, the engine was covered by mattresses. The engine's clutch meanwhile was partially disassembled. This was likely due to the ship's second engine having broken down and the ship leaving port with only one operational engine.

The Joyita's radio was set to the international distress channel. Alas, when inspected, it was discovered that the radio's cable was painted over, interfering with the break. In other words: the radio had a range of two miles.

The ship's navigational equipment and firearm owned by the captain were all missing. Oddly though, a bag owned by a doctor who was among the passengers was left on board—though whether or not anything had been taken aside from what was left inside, I can't find out.

The ship was taken back to port and remained operational until it broke up in the 1970s. As of the time of this writing, the mystery is, as you may have guessed, unsolved. However, there exist some theories! So let's dive in.

Our first theory is that the Japanese attacked the ship. Indeed, the butthurt from World War II hadn't faded and with anti-Japanese feelings still high in the Pacific, a few active soldiers may have ambushed the ship and done something. Whether that was to hold them hostage or murder them, I can't say for certain. This theory is perhaps the most renowned theory, and it's certainly the most likely given the sordid history that Japan has when it comes to World War II. Alas, there's no evidence to back this one up.

Theory number two is mutiny. Exactly why is anybody's guess, but some point to food shortage or simply tension aboard the ship. You decide!

The third theory is—dramatic drum roll—aliens! Indeed, our best friends from outer space are the culprits and by golly if it ain't a surprise for me to say that this theory is bunk, next theory.

Theory four is insurance fraud. There's a new one. Apparently, growing debts equals the deaths of sixteen people.

The fifth and final theory is that the captain was injured when the ship got damaged at some point and the crew panicked; abandoning ship inspire of its incredible buoyancy. This one is the second most popular theory—and it does make a lot of sense. No captain to reassure everyone, a ship flooding, and common sense being thrown out the window. You decide if this one makes more sense than rogue Japanese soldiers.

And that's it. There apparently exist some theories about the Soviets, but by and large, the most fleshed out and prominent theories begin and end with rogue Japanese soldiers. With the soldiers almost certainly dead by now though, it's incredibly unlikely we'll ever know for certain what really happened aboard the MV Joyita.

1 comment:

  1. Tyler "Bio" RodriguezDecember 29, 2018 at 8:47 PM

    I'm pretty sure I read that the medical bag had blood on it Which to me points towards injuried or dead captain and people panicked. It's hard to remain calm in a situation like this. Sadly if they had stayed put they probably would have been fine. Fitting for what is basically a modern day version of the Mary Celeste.