Mystery Ship Zebrina
By James Donahue
Among the mysteries of the sea is the story of the schooner-barge Zebrina, found ashore off the coast
of France in October, 1917, with cargo and sails intact, but no trace of the crew.
The wooden 100-foot, three-mast ship was under the command of a Captain Martin and laden with coal
bound from Falmouth to Saint-Brieuc, France, when something unexplained happened to it.
The vessel was found ashore on Rozel Point, south of Cherbourg, with nobody on board. There was no
sign of damage or a struggle. The entire five-member crew just disappeared, never to be heard of again.
Was the crew washed overboard in a storm?
Since Europe was in the early stages of World War I at the time it happened, there was speculation
that the Zebrina was intercepted by a German U-Boat. Those were the years that submarine captains used to either take crew
members aboard before sinking their ship, or at least send them away in lifeboats. The theory was that the submarine took
the crew aboard, but then was chased away and sunk by British Naval ships, taking the submarine crew and the Zebrina’s
crew to the bottom with it.
This theory was never proven.
Launched at Whitstable, England, in 1873, the Zebrina later was left a rotting hull on Velder Creek,