History Stories

A team of detectives, alongside veteran divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, look back at history’s mysteries and wrecks at sea in this week's HISTORY Vault featured collection, Deep Sea Detectives.

It was January 1999. In less than two weeks, three clam fishing boats and 10 men are lost inexplicably off the Eastern seaboard—two off the New Jersey shore and one near Cape Cod. All three vessels sink suddenly with almost no warning. While the weather may have been a factor in each sinking, these were experienced crews who had survived worse. Were the vessels safe to begin with? How did the captains run their boats? Is there something about clamming itself that could present a vital clue? Get the answers in Winter of Disaster.

In Secret Underwater Caves go under the island of Cozumel in Mexico, to a 6-mile underwater cave system called Cueva Quebrada. Almost a mile into the cave, down a passage that is so deep and long divers must carry at least eight tanks of air for the four-hour swim, lies a cache of Mayan artifacts and a burial mound. Since their first discovery 10 years ago, no one has been back to the site until the Deep Sea Detective teams forge the swim. How did the Mayans manage to place these objects a mile back into the Cueva Quebrada cave system?

An unlicensed ferry attempting to smuggle 300 Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan illegal immigrants to Italy disappears 19 miles off of Sicily on December 26, 1996. Only 29 passengers survive. These shaken refugees tell a wild tale of being forced onto a rickety ferry by a drunken captain and colliding with a larger ship, The Yiohan. Find out just what happened out there in Death In The Mediterranean. Did the captain force his paying customers off the Yiohan at gunpoint, and then leave them to die in the high seas as the immigrants claim? And more importantly, what caused the ferry to sink—claiming the lives over nearly 300 young men? Was this an accident, or murder?

Dive into history’s most mysterious disappearances at sea in this week’s featured collection Deep Sea Detectives. In addition to Winter of Disaster, Secret Underwater Caves and Death In The Mediterranean, here’s a peek at some of this week’s episodes:

  • John Chatterton and Melanie Paul join marine archaeologists to decide whether negligence, bad luck or foul play sent the North Carolina to the ocean floor in 1879 in Mystery Sinking in Bermuda.
  • On a bleak weekend in 1898, a trio of tempests engulfed New England, sinking hundreds of ships. Only now, in The Ghost Ship of New England, can the dramatic story of the nearly 200 people trapped aboard the lost passenger steamer SS Portland be told.
  • In D-Day Troops: Lost at Sea dive the wreck of the troopship USS Susan B. Anthony off the coast of Normandy to unlock the story behind one of the most daring and amazing rescues at sea.

Watch Deep Sea Detectives on your HISTORY Vault app available on Roku players, iOS devices and Apple TV (4th Generation). For a related collection, check out Myths and Legends, Battles of the Deep and Haunted History.
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