A seemingly impossible nautical event took place sometime in the 1940.
The precise year varies by source. According to the story, the S.S. Ourang Medan, a Dutch ship, was passing through the Strait of Malacca when it ran into mysterious trouble. Nearby ships received a horrifying distress call: “All officers including captain dead, lying in chartroom and on bridge, probably whole crew dead,” it stated. Then there was an unintelligible frenzy of Morse code. The radio operator typed the final words: “I die.”
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Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 19 years, 17 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years, he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.