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Mysterious California Shipwreck Revealed To Be 1930s Mafia Ship

Chris Ogden

| Last updated 

Mysterious California Shipwreck Revealed To Be 1930s Mafia Ship

You might remember that mysterious shipwreck that popped up off the coast of California in February of last year.

Now a new documentary has sought to investigate the wreck - only to find that it was an oil tanker which was later used for gambling and prostitution.

The Science Channel's What on Earth documentary series began an investigation into the ghost ship after investigators noticed that it was 295ft long - the exact same length as the famous cruise ship the Lyubov Orlova.


Credit: PA

The 4,250-ton cruise ship - capable of carrying 110 passengers in its heyday - was built in Yugoslavia and was predominantly used for cruises around the Antarctic.

However, the ship was seized in Newfoundland in 2010 after its crew deserted it due to a row over debts.

The ship was being towed to the Caribbean country of the Dominican Republic to be scrapped in 2013 when catastrophically, the line broke.


The crew of the tugboat tried in vain to reconnect the line but failed, leaving the Lyubov Orlova a floating derelict in the North Atlantic Ocean.

The ship is believed to have sunk as two distress signals have been received from the ship - which only transmit when the device is underwater.

However, that doesn't explain why the ship would have found itself several thousand miles away on the other side of the U.S. Bit of a serious scupper to that theory then.

Further research undertaken for the documentary suggested the ship found off the Californian coast was in fact made of concrete - not metal as experts previously thought.


That led other experts to suggest that the shipwreck may have been the S.S. Monte Carlo, an infamous gambling vessel from the 1930s which sank nearly 80 years ago.

Credit: Wikimedia/Jamie Lantzy (Creative Commons)

The oil tanker was obtained by the mafia and used as a floating casino, brothel and speakeasy with customers ferried to and from the ship by water taxis.


Police were unable to shut down the ship because it sailed in international waters outside of the clutches of US authorities.

The S.S. Monte Carlo was anchored just a few miles off the Coronado coast when a powerful storm set it adrift on New Year's Day 1937.

The ship ran aground, was buried by sand and is prone to re-emerging every so often during high tides. So that's that explained.

All of this means, of course, that the Lyubov Orlova is still out there. Maybe that's one for another documentary.


Source: Daily Mail

Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia/Jamie Lantzy (Creative Commons)

Topics: Mafia, Interesting, Documentary

Chris Ogden
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