The USS Cyclops in 1913. The mammoth coal-carrying transport ship disappeared in 1918, and the place of residence to this day, remain unknown.
(US naval History and Heritage Command)
A hundred years ago, Wednesday morning, the USS Cyclops, a large American world War I transport ship hailed as a “floating of the coal mine,” would have been deployed in the waters off the coast of Baltimore, fresh from a trip to Brazil.
But the ship – reported to be in the Navy one of the largest and fastest fuel ship at the time – and the 309 men aboard never trailed in the Chesapeake Bay, on March 13, 1918, and the place of residence to this day remains unknown.
“In terms of loss of life and the size of the ship, it is probably the last great mystery,” James Delgado, an underwater explorer, told the Baltimore Sun this week in the recent discoveries of historic shipwrecks are the renewal of hope among the scientific community of the end of the Cyclops.
The 540 metres long and 65 metres wide vessel, equipped with a 50-caliber machine guns to be able to offer doctors and supplies to the American Expeditionary Forces in France during The first world War, it was last seen in Barbados on 4 March 1918.
The USS Cyclops, in the background, the transfer of the bags of coal with the USS South Carolina in 1914.
(US naval History and Heritage Command)
Built in Philadelphia eight years earlier, the USS Cyclops is suitable for transporting 12,500 tons of coal and could lift two tons of it in a few buckets along the cables that ran along the ship, leading newspapers to call it a “floating mine”, says the Baltimore Sun.
But on his last trip, the Cyclops was loaded with 10,000 tons of manganese ore – a denser and heavier load – and stopped on the Caribbean island for nine days to resupply, before disappearing in the horizon.
“Many ships sailed looking for the necklace if they are thought to have been sunk by a German submarine,” the naval History and Heritage Command said. “Its wreckage has never been found, and the cause of her loss is still unknown.”
“As a veteran of the Navy, I feel that I have a duty to the honor of the crew of the USS Cyclops that never returned to Baltimore, and the families they left behind.”
– Maryland Rep. Andy Harris
Two months after the ship to Baltimore, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was then an Assistant Navy Secretary, announced the Cyclops and all of the crew were presumed lost at sea, resulting in what remains the largest loss of life in Navy history los to fight.
Nothing of the ship is found. No wreckage, oil slicks or debris. Not even for an emergency call. And speculation has raged in the history, which some claim wild theories involving the Bermuda Triangle, giant squids, and meteorites, the Sun of Baltimore reported.
“There is no more baffling mystery in the annals of the Navy than the disappearance last March of the U. S. S. Cyclops,” quoted the Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels as saying at the time. “There is no trace of the ship, and the long-continued and vigilant search of the entire region turned out to be completely pointless.”
But the recent deep sea discoveries of American ships such as the USS Lexington — lost in the Battle of Coral Sea in 1942, and found last week — and the USS Ward, found in the Philippines in December, both by an expedition crew, led by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen, to give the explorers hope that the Cyclops could be next.
The nameplate of the USS Lexington, which was struck by several Japanese torpedoes and bombs on May 8, 1942, is visible during a recent expedition discovered the ship.
“The short list is getting shorter these days as technology steps in,” Delgado told the Baltimore Sun. “Things can be found. It is only a matter of time and money.”
Marvin Barrash, who has more than a decade of research to the Cyclops, is of the opinion that it would be sitting in the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean and the Puerto Rico Trench, which extends over more than 27,000 feet below the surface. He is now working with Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., to build the ship is the first monument.
“As a veteran of the Navy, I feel that I have a duty to the honor of the crew of the USS Cyclops that never returned to Baltimore, and the families they left behind,” Harris said in a statement.
Barrash, a cousin of one of the firefighters on the ship, told the Baltimore Sun that he simply wants the ship “.
“I like the 309 in peace, as well as the families,” he said. “It’s something everyone needs some resolution.”