FACT CHECK: Did A Missing Ship Reappear Floating And Intact After Vanishing Over 90 Years Ago?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An article shared on Facebook claims Cuban authorities found the S.S. Cotopaxi fully intact and floating toward the island nation more than 90 years after its disappearance.

Verdict: False

The wreck of S.S. Cotopaxi was discovered underwater in the 1980s but was only identified recently.

Fact Check:

The steamer ship and its 32-person crew disappeared en route to Havana, Cuba from Charleston, South Carolina in 1925, according to the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.

The article, which was published on the website True Blog in November 2019, claims that Cuban authorities intercepted the S.S. Cotopaxi floating west of Cuba more than 90 years after its disappearance. People have started sharing the article on Facebook again in recent months.

“The captain’s logbook confirmed that this is the SS Cotopaxi ship but did not even provide a clue as to the years in which the ship disappeared,” the article claims. “The strangest detail is that not even a skeleton was found on the ship. It seems like all the people disappeared from that ship.”

Contrary to the article’s claims, the steamer ship was actually found about 35 years ago sunken off the coast of St. Augustine, Florida, according to Smithsonian Magazine. The wreck was recently confirmed to be that of the S.S. Cotopaxi by researchers, including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration marine biologist Michael Barnette.

For years, the ship’s disappearance had been connected to the legends of the Bermuda Triangle. However, Barnette debunked that theory as well. (RELATED: Were Crystal Pyramids Discovered In The Bermuda Triangle?)

“They got off the Florida coast and encountered a tropical storm that swept up the coast,” Barnette said in a statement to CNN. “The ship went from bad to catastrophic probably very quickly.”

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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