SS Cotopaxi

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Career
Name: Cotopaxi
Owner: Clinchfield Navigation Company
Port of registry: United States United States
Builder: Great Lakes Engineering Works
Launched: 1918
Out of service: On or after 1 December 1925
Fate: Reported missing 1 December 1925, believed sunk
General characteristics
Tonnage: 2,351 GRT
Length: 253 ft (77 m)
Beam: 44 ft (13 m)
Installed power: Steam engine
Speed: 9.5 knots (17.6 km/h)
Crew: 32

The SS Cotopaxi was a tramp steamer named after the Cotopaxi stratovolcano. She vanished in December 1925, while en route from Charleston, South Carolina, USA, to Havana, Cuba, with all hands.

Description[edit]

Cotopaxi was a cargo ship of 2,351 GRT. She was built by the Great Lakes Engineering Works, Ecorse, Michigan,[1] in 1918 for the Clinchfield Navigation Company.[2][3]

Cotopaxi was 253 feet (77 m) long between perpendiculars, with a beam of 44 feet (13 m). Her steam engine could propel her at 9.5 knots (17.6 km/h).[3]

Final voyage[edit]

On 29 November 1925, Cotopaxi departed Charleston, South Carolina, for Havana, Cuba,[4] under the command of Captain W. J. Meyer.[5] She was carrying a cargo of coal and a crew of 32.[5] On 1 December, Cotopaxi radioed a distress call[4] reporting that the ship was listing and taking on water.[2] The ship was officially listed as overdue on 31 December.[4]

Despite the last radio transmission indicating that the ship was about to sink, she has since been connected to the legend of the Bermuda Triangle.[6]

In fiction[edit]

In the 1980 Special Edition release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Cotopaxi is discovered,[7] located in the Gobi Desert, presumably set there by extraterrestrial forces.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Great Lakes Engineering Works. The Shipyard and its Vessels. Detroit: Marine Historical Society of Detroit. p. 311. 
  2. ^ a b "Ships and the Sea". Evening Post (27 March 1926). p. p27. 
  3. ^ a b "Cotopaxi". Ellis Island. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c "Mails and Shipping" The Times (London). Thursday, 31 December 1925. (44157), col D, p. 18.
  5. ^ a b "Cotopaxi Still Lost; Lighthouse Men Watch; No Word Since Tuesday". The Sunday News (6 December 1925). p. 1. 
  6. ^ a b Ray Morton (1 November 2007). Close encounters of the third kind: the making of Steven Spielberg's classic film. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 311. ISBN 978-1-55783-710-3. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  7. ^ "Close Encounters: 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition DVD (1977)". BBC. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

  • "Lloyd's posts Cotopaxi As "Missing," New York Times, January 7, 1926.
  • "Efforts To Locate Missing Ship Fail," Washington Post, December 6, 1925.
  • "Lighthouse Keepers Seek Missing Ship," Washington Post, December 7, 1925.
  • "53 On Missing Craft Are Reported Saved," Washington Post, December 13, 1925.