Ken Vizena (May 2021)
Just as an FYI, the cause of the loss will never be known, however structural analysis of other converted ships to hold molten sulfur were shown to not handle stress when loaded. There were several studies on ships that were mothballed and ones still in service. After the loss the ships that were converted fell under another level of review and most were not declared seaworthy.
The welded seam around the mid-ship that was part of the conversion was shown to not have enough support under poor conditions, even with no load.
There were no punitive damages since the ship was never found, so our family just settled. The prevailing theory from the investigation is that when the ship was lost, the conditions were very poor, even worse for a poorly converted ship full of molten sulfur.
In test modeling the ship hitting a wave of ten to fifteen feet would have been enough to snap the welds from the terrible conversion. Also, from the report molten sulfur when in contact with water will form sulfuric acid that will further weaken the structural integrity of the ship.
The hypothesis is the ship hit a very large wave, and was snapped in half, it went down immediately. When testing was done with the other converted ships there were similar problems identified and continues to be the prevailing theory.
Gary "Dutch" Wright (June 2016)
On Feb 4 1963 I was stationed at US Coast Guard Group, Sabine Pass, Tx. as a Radiomam in operations. As the Queen departed the mouth of the Sabine River from Beaumont, Tx. I received a routine departure message on the voice net from the Queen and relayed the message to USCG HQ in New Orleans as required.
After her disappearance, I recall thinking how odd it was because her route was "coastal"' meaning not intending to travel into open seas. At that time there were US Coast Guard Radio Stations and other USCG Station that monitored the international calling and distress frequencies, 500KC morse code and voice 2182KC, all along the East Coast including Galveston, Tx, New Orleans, La., Pensacola, Fl., Key West, Fl., Miami, Fl. and Norfolk, Va. to name a few. This does not include a wide variety of merchant and military shipping that also monitor morse code and voice distress frequencies 24/7.
I find it highly improbable the SS Marine Sulpher Queen broadcasted any form of SOS or Mayday distress call before it disappeared less it would have been intercepted immediately by any number of US Coast Guard or Maritime vessels along its intended route. áI recall no such broadcast and that itself is reason for the delay in initiating a search.
K Schneeberger (January 2016)
I suspect, that the SS Marine Sulphur Queen may have encountered a Russian Submarine off of Cuba, and was torpedoed. áInitial news reports stated that the SS Marine Sulphur Queen was probably sunk, or taken, and may be located in Cuba. áIn 1962/1963 unthinkable things happened (Missile Crisis, Kennedy Assassination) in world politics. áI believe that the SS Marine Sulphur Queen was a casualty of these events, and the Cold War. Hopefully someone will own up to it, eventually.
Marie Pizarro-Ferrante (February 2015)
Hi, I have been searching for information regarding my father's death all of my life. Interestingly enough your site has answered and raised more questions on the exact site and time of the disappearance. We were notified Feb 14,1963. Do you think it is possible that the vessel was boarded and our merchant marines were taken captive? This was during the Cuban missile crisis and not far from the islands. What is your take on this? I would be grateful for any truth you can give me; I have the official court documents.
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) February 2015
Hi, in my view while possibility of crew members taken captive can not be absolutely ruled out, but it's quite unlikely. The Cuban Missile Crisis had ended in November 1962 when Soviet Union and United States reached a formal agreement on the missile issue, and no further news of conflict was heard of. Sulphur Queen was reportedly lost on Feb 4, 1963 near Florida Straights which is about 90 miles away from Cuba. While proximity to Cuba can raise such a question, but the timings and inexplicable motive behind captivating the mariners would make me think otherwise. Let me know if you are in any position to share any documents that you have that can help me to look into the matter further. Thanks.
Denis T. Cassidy Sr (January 2015)
My grandson was asking me about my service in the Coast Guard and I related to him how, as a radio operator on the USCGC Rockaway I had copied an SOS from the Queen and I had rebroadcast it on 500 KC. Our ship was in the north Atlantic on an ocean station patrol and too far away to be of immediate service. My grandson asked if I thought he could find out more about the Queen if he googled her and I said yes. I did the same and saw your article about the Queen and that no one had heard from her after RCA radio received the routine message from her. I don't know which day it was when I copied the SOS and rebroadcast it but it should be in the radio log that every radio operator completed before going off watch, if it still exists.
Russel Burgess, a crew member of a ship that searched for the SS Marine Sulphur Queen, wrote to me about what he remembers of the search operation. Check out Search of Sulphur Queen and find out what he wrote.