MAC’s interests are nothing if not eclectic so he was intrigued by a report of a rather spectacular UFO sighting from the P&O Nedlloyd containership Tokyo Bay while enroute from Port Klang, Malaysia to Southampton. The report, made to the UK Meteorological Office and passed on to the Ministry of Defence, has been release by Britain’s National Archives among other MoD UFO reports.
Apparently five objects, described as spectacularly incandescent and a third of the apparent size of the sun were seen moving in a northerly direction at 2150 GMT from the ship’s position at 11degrees 20 minutes south, 00 degrees 08 minutes west by the second officer, RA Gill. It lasted up to 45 seconds.
Almost certainly what was seen was a satellite breaking up as it entered earth’s atmosphere.
The only other ‘maritime UFO’ MAC has come across is a garbled version of an account by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl in 1970. He and a couple of his crew watched a pinwheel move across the sky for several minutes before it disappeared in an orange flash. It has proved to be due to a Poseidon missile test – the pinwheel effect, most recently seen over Norway, is caused by rotation of the second stage of the missile after separation.
MAC would be pleased to hear of other, similar, phenomena.
Tokyo Bay, by the way, kicked off containerisation in Port Klang with its first call there in 1973 and was, at one time, the largest vessel to pass through the Panama Canal.
And if you’re interested in the subject, here’s a podcast from the National Archives: