UNUSUAL OCCURRENCE AT SEA
Chief Engineer R.J. Harrop, of the SS Sanko Stresa, wrote the following report while at sea on 5th March 1979.
(All times GMT)
At 1930 hrs, Monday 5th March 1979 at position 17˚ 06’ North and 16˚ 50’ West and shortly after sunset (at 1908 hrs), it was brought to the notice of the Officers in the smoke room by the watch keeping Officer, Mr. R.E. Boydon, that a peculiar sunset was in progress. I went to the port side window next to the entrance to my office and with the 2nd Officer, Mr. D. Glendinning, the 3rd Engineer, Mr. E. Dusati, Mrs. Glendinning and Mrs. Boydon, saw in the west an unusual sight. A white trail, not unlike an aircraft vapour trail shaped like a zigzag lay stationary against the dark night sky ending towards the horizon. Above the trail was a double halo of various unchanging colours from mauve, green and yellow to red tinge. The halo was not of constant brilliance and was faded in parts. Stars were quite clear at this time.
Later, at 2010 hrs it was brought to the Officers’ attention by the relief watch keeping Officer, Mr. R.W. Kreislers, that further events were occurring in the sky within the area in question. I saw from the port side window through the glare of the port bridge wing spotlight a brilliant white light directed downwards from a single point of light in the sky at approximately 45˚ altitude. The beam was directed in the area of the various colours near the horizon. The beam was not diffused and had a small angle of spread.
By the time I had gained the bridge, the brilliance of the beam had diminished and faded shortly afterwards. The source of the beam, a bright star-like object, then moved slowly in the direction shown and with the help of binoculars it could be mistaken for a comet since it had a tail not unlike a comet in shape and relative size. The light slowly faded and moved in the direction of its tail in a straight line and three or four times a ball-like puff of light appeared in its wake.
The object then stopped and after a short time proceeded at approx. right angles in the direction shown, then slowly assimilated with the heavens as a receding glowing area until nothing was seen. The halo colours and white trail by this time had slowly disappeared. By 2020 hrs all was normal in the sky.
Your comments on the phenomenon would be welcomed.
(Signed R.J. Harrop, Chief Engineer)
[This report was sent to the following; Patrick Moore, Astronomer; Nautical Magazine: Maritime Defence International; Ministry of Defence; The New Scientist. If there were any comments from the foregoing, they have not been made public, to our knowledge,-ED]
Reference for the above text is: UFO AFRINEWS, July 1995, No. 12, pp. 14-16:
UFOCAT PRN - 125468
UFOCAT URN 125468 Lumières dans la Nuit, November 1979
UFOCAT URN 153594 UFO Newsclipping Service by Lucius Farish, June 1979, p. 15
UFOCAT URN 130216 UFO Afrinews by Cynthia Hind, July 1995, No. 12, pp. 14-16
Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Mauritania, Africa, near Nouakchott
Latitude 17-06 N, Longitude 016-50 W (D-M) [From text]
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