Truth, Understanding, Insight

Merchants, ships lost and gained

29th October 2011, hej


Recently there has been some curious maritime developments that might point to other more significant events in the USA, Britain and those who dwell carelessly in the isles. At the very least these events from a lost Liberian tanker name Rena, to a recovered Gairsoppa and Mantola are thought provoking with deep connections to events past and future.

Rena ('Born-again') shipwrecked

On October 5, 2011 the Rena, a Liberian registered cargo tanker ran aground on New Zealand's East Coast on a reef called Astrolabe. An Astrolabe is an instrument used to calculate the position of the stars, moon and planets. This reef ironically is near a city of the Bay of Plenty named Tauranga, or from Maori, variously 'resting place', 'landing place', 'anchorage for canoes' 'sheltered place'

It has spilled containers and hundreds of tonnes of heavy fuel oil into the sea that has washed up on local beaches.

New Zealand means the 'new sea land', and nothing in the events would have been of interest except that the ship being partly on the reef (land) and partly over ocean began to break up and spill oil. The media attention indicated the event might be significant. The operators of the Greek-owned Liberian registered ship are accused of having taking a short cut, as the accident happened in calm weather. The instance shows how taking short cuts, or being careless, in life can result in disasters. But of more significance is that the Liberian registered ship is called Rena, from the Latin 'born again'. It just so happens that the English speaking nation of Liberia is currently in the news because of both a Nobel Peace Prize and presidential elections. There are 3 contenders including the current president, Mrs Sirleaf. The one who will be in the deciding position as to who rules is named Prince Johnson , the BBC reported

President Sirleaf, who was first elected in 2005 and is viewed abroad as a reformer, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last week for her role in stabilising the West African nation after a 14-year civil war.
Prince Johnson has said he is looking forward to playing the role of kingmaker, AP news agency reported. His forces infamously filmed the torture and murder of dictator Samuel Doe in 1990.
After the war, he became a born-again Christian pastor and was elected to the senate in the 2005 poll.

Liberia is a special case as an African nation, being one of two modern nations. It was established by Americans for freed African-American slaves on the Pepper Coast, with a government originally modelled on the American constitution and dominated by the African-Americans. Liberia was a founding member of the UN. From 1980 a military coup led to war in 1989. Since 2005 they have returned to the former method of rule and Ellen Sirleaf, the president, is photographed in front of the Liberian moto 'the love of liberty brought us here'. Apart from having the second highest percentage of registered ships behind Panama, and sudden growth in oil exploration, since 2006 Liberia has the highest rate of foreign direct investment to GDP.

In many ways Liberia exemplifies the activities of the American-led trading nations. But the Latin named ship 'born again' spilt its trade and oil on the place called literally 'star-traker', marking the position of the sun (the dominant political power), stars (the leading political lights) and the moon (the religious leaders). Just as the ship is run aground in New Zealand, there are protests from the 15th of October against the perceived greed and power of American-led share trading profiteers,

Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement that started in September, protests started Saturday in New Zealand, continued in Rome, and are planned to ripple round the world.

The protest also went to Greece, but in Rome the Vatican was forced to protest at the result,

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the 18th-Century church of Santi Marcellino and Pietro was "desecrated" by protesters. Its parish priest said a statue of the Virgin Mary had been thrown into the street and smashed.

This in itself is a curious connection, because the Vatican does indeed profit from global share trading, and is made wealthy by greed.

From investing in a newly unstable Liberia to protests against Wall Street, clearly, all is not well for those American-led world traders who dwell carelessly in the isles. A shipwreck in calm waters is like those at ease who, due to careless actions, greed and shortcuts, achieve economic shipwreck on the place for observing the leaders, or stars.

Raising the Silver Mantola

While there is a chance of economic shipwreck because of greed and shortcuts, Britain's traders are, curiously, emerging just as two ships bearing silver are to be raised from the deep. The Mantola was carrying,

200,000 ounces of silver, worth $US19 million ($19.5 million)
Odyssey Marine Exploration said it found the wreckage of the SS Mantola, which sank on February 9, 1917 after being torpedoed by a German submarine, and would begin recovery operations next year.
The Florida company said it discovered the shipwreck about 2500 metres beneath the surface and just 160km from the SS Gairsoppa, believed to be the most valuable shipwreck ever, with some $US210 million in silver.
The firm said it has an agreement with the British government allowing it to keep 80 per cent of the value of anything recovered from the wrecks.

At that rate from the two ships the British government (HM Treasury) will gain over $45 million that might not otherwise have been recovered. In addition the events are thought provoking, as the two shipwrecks bookend the era of the fall of the greatness of Britain's merchant marine. The decline began with the first world war and was finished by the second world war, when the USA rose to dominance.

The ships truly do bookend an era. The first ship, the Mantola, was a new ship, only one year old, and was on its way out from Britain to India when it was sunk by Germany in 1917. In the same way the losses of WW1 reduced British trade to India. The second ship, the Gairsoppa, was made in 1919 and had come from India and had almost made it to Britain when it was torpedoed in 1941. The depleted trade route was soon to peter out and the ships return to Britain, as India became independent in 1947 and retreated into internal struggles.

Although this wreck (the Mantola), may hold significantly less silver than the Gairpossa, it is still considerably valuable, in its wealth of silver, but also in its historical significance, as the Mantola was sunk in 1917 during World War I.
Not only were the ships both torpedoed by u-boats only 100 miles and 24 years apart from one another, they were also owned by the same British Indian Steam Navigation Company.
Captained by David James Chivas (nephew to the Chivas brothers of Chivas Regal Whiskey) the Mantola, only a year old, was four days out from London for Calcutta when she was torpedoed. Fortunately, unlike the Gairsoppa, the crew of the Mantola suffered minimal loss of life. .

The seven who drowned from the Mantola were Indian crew.

(The Mantola) set sail from London on February 4, 1917, carrying passengers and cargo - including a shipment of silver - to Calcutta, India. On February 8, 1917, she was struck by a torpedo from a German submarine. The 165 crew members and 18 passengers abandoned the ship. All but seven crew members, who drowned when their lifeboat overturned, were rescued by the HMS Laburnum. An unsuccessful attempt was made to tow the Mantola before she sank on February 9, 1917 – less than a year after she was launched.

The tow line was broken or lost in bad weather. We might ponder 'the stormy wind fulfilling' God's word (Psa. 148:8). The sinking of Gairsoppa in 1941 was also related to bad weather,

The vessel was on its way back to Britain from India when it ran low on fuel in stormy weather, and tried to divert to Galway harbour, but it was spotted and sunk by the German submarine.
The seven million ounces of silver on the ship is a mixture of privately owned bullion insured by the UK government and state-owned coins and ingots.
Researchers used records including insurance documents from Lloyd's War Losses Register to work out how much was on board. The merchant ship belonged to the British India Steam Navigation Company, and was ordered into the merchant navy fleet at the outbreak of World War II.
On her final voyage from Calcutta, India she was loaded with nearly 7,000 tonnes of medium and high-value cargo, including pig iron, tea, and the large quantity of silver.
Of the 32 crew members who boarded lifeboats after the attack, all perished except for one survivor. Second officer Richard Ayres reached shore at the Lizard lighthouse in Cornwall 13 days after the sinking. He was made an MBE for his efforts in trying to save his fellow sailors, and lived until 1992.

The Gairsoppa is thought to be one of the world's most valuable wrecks. Though British its name and cargo solidly connect it to India. Gairsoppa is named after a remarkable waterfall in India, which seems at the time to have been a popular British tourist stop see “As in the case of the Gairsoppa falls”

She engaged in commercial shipping activity in the waters off the Far East, Australia and East Africa.

Gairsoppa speaks of descent. Britain descended in terns of trade after 1941. The ship descended into the deep, just as the falls it was named after descended.

“drops directly and does not stream on to rocks. Thus, it can be described as the highest untiered waterfalls in India (They are on the river)
Sharavati, 'arrow-born', is in allusion to its flowing from the Ambutirtha, which was formed by a stroke of Rama's arrow

The falls representing to the Indians 'a lovers leap into the arms of an ocean mistress'

Britain had loved the ocean, but in war time (the time of the use of the arrow) they fall. Gersoppa appears to be the name of an princely family, and the place of their centre of rule,

The Gersoppa were characterised by a famous queen in 'The Gersoppa Falls and their sixty mile approach' (2nd edition 1931) establishes that from 1409 to 1608 Gersoppa was a city of renown, and celebrated for its queen and pepper . One of the 4 falls is called the 'Raja's leap'

The ship 'Gairsoppa' rightly had an Indian name as it was owned by a company set up by some canny Scots in Calcutta in 1856 as the 'Calcutta and Burmah Steam Navigation Company' to fulfil a Indian government contract to carry mail. In 1862 it became the 'British India Steam Navigation Company' expanding shipping from India to Britain. At its height in 1922 it had over 160 ships. It served both the British and Indian government gaining many military contracts.

It went into decline and eventually was absorbed into P&O. But it is to be brought back up, or as much of its cargo as is salvageable. Just as Britain is emerging again as the first voice in international trade and the world economy. At the time British PM Cameron is insisting Britain be part of EU talks on the economy because it's in her interest (see Also

Which brings us to what the subsequent return of the Mantola says. A mantola or mandola is a sugar and almond sweet in Zakynthos, Greece an island West of the main part of Greece in the Ionian sea. A mandola is related to the mandolin (tuned a a 5th below the mandolin) and might be found in US, Canada, Britain and Ireland. But a mantola seems to be a unique instrument. A variant on the mandolin, which was popular in the Ionian islands, it seems to belong specifically to Crete.

see also

Tarshish sings

Tarshish was reached from both Joppa in the Mediterranean and Ezion Geber in the Red Sea indicating it is two places. The Tarshish accessed from Tyre traded in silver, iron lead and tin. The other Tarshish that Solomon and the men of Tyre went to from the Red Sea had gold, ivory and peacocks. It is a peculiarity of the ships of Tarshish that the traders sing, and play stringed instruments,

Isaiah 23:14-16 Howl, ye ships of Tarshish: for your strength is laid waste. (15) And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot. (16) Take an harp ('twanged' instrument), go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that you may be remembered.

This is precisely what the current British government is doing. David Cameron is pleading to be part of the EU negotiations, solely for reasons of trade and the Greek debt and against what the nation really believes. This occurs shortly after it is announced that the Mantola, 'a stringed instrument of Ionian Greek Crete', with its silver haul, is to be raised.

The name 'Crete' appears in Homer's Odyssey, and it is thought to be the Caphtor spoken of as the home of a second wave of invading people who took over and became the Philistines,

saith the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? Amos 9:7
Jeremiah 47:4 Because of the day that cometh to spoil all the Philistines, and to cut off from Tyrus and Zidon every helper that remains: for the LORD will spoil the Philistines, the remnant of the country of Caphtor.

The Philistines are linked with Tyre. Tyre in turn is linked with Tarshish by Isaiah. Is is curious that Britain is identified with the Palestine Mandate and Palestine is 'Philistine'.

Tarshish and Greeks

Even more curious, the company bringing up the two ships full of silver are called “Odyssey Marine Exploration.” The word 'Odyssey' came into English from Greek from the main character in Homer's poem, Odysseus (also Ulysses, meaning 'trouble') from the 8th century BC.

Homer's poems feature the city of Troy and the Trojan wars. There is a theory that Troy was located at the Gog Magog hills in Cambridgeshire and was a war between Celts about 1200 BC. Local Celts fought Celts from the continent over access to the tin mines in Cornwall. In the bronze age tin was very important being a component of bronze. The rivers Thames, Cam, Great Ouse and Little Ouse can respectively be identified as Temese, Scamander, Simois, and Satniois. Nearby at Isleham Cambridgeshire was found a great hoard of more than 6,500 items of bronze including swords, spear-heads, arrows, axes, palstaves, knives, daggers, armour, decorative equipment for horses. See

Wilkens, the proponent of the theory points out that “Homer speaks of the 'horse-taming Trojans' and of 'Troy rich in horses'.” ( There is evidence the Celts used horses. He points out that Homer's poems are so full of description they come across as being based on a real history though clearly embellished. He also points out that scholars know that the culture of the 'Greeks' in Homer's poems does not match that of earliest Greece, an example being the custom of cremation.

both the vernacular Celtic epics and Homeric epics are heroic, both recount a warrior aristocracy, both describe warriors fighting from two-wheeled, horse-drawn chariots and both show the highest esteem for individual courage.

Homer also mentions 'Galatea' as a famous female which is known to be considered a legendary mother of the Celts, Gauls and the Illyrians. That at 1000BCE there was enough trade to fight a war over is supported by a discovery of a a hoard from an ancient shipwreck at Salcombe.

The vessel, carrying copper and tin ingots used to make weapons and jewellery, sank off the coast near Salcombe in Devon and is thought to date from 900BC.
It is thought that the goods - 259 copper ingots and 27 of tin - were destined for Britain but collected from several different sources in Europe.
The discovery reveals the high level of sophistication maritime trade in Europe had reached, even in ancient times. Tin ingots from this period have not been found in Britain before.
A bronze sword and three gold wrist bracelets, known as torcs, were also found at the spot,

The proponent of the theory, Wilkins argued that the favoured site in Turkey for Troy does not fit as,

One may also wonder why the Achaeans built 1186 ships for their attack on Troy in Turkey as it would have been much cheaper, quicker and far more convenient to approach northwest Turkey overland via Thessaly. What is more, they were clearly afraid to cross the sea, despite the fact that sailing in the Aegean is rather a question of 'island hopping' as one is seldom out of sight of the next island. But Iphigenia had to be offered to secure a fair wind and Menelaus even invoked the gods to show him the best course to sail from Lesbos to Euboea. ..
Another story that defies explanation is about a merchant sailing from Taphos with a cargo of iron to Temese, as it is impossible to identify these names with coastal cities or with any mining region in the Mediterranean..

It is possible that the legend that Homer wrote down, after years of being an oral account, might have been modified to feature the Greeks. It may be that the Greeks featured in the battles weren't originally Greeks but became Greeks. At about 1200BCE it is thought there was a Dorian or 'sea people' invasion of Greece with a widespread collapse of civilisation, such as comes with the aftermath of wars, and especially where the conquerors had a less material culture than their predecessors, and where they took over the culture of those they conquered. This is the era that Homer's work was set in. The Greeks themselves adopted a new alphabet from the Phonecians by the 8th Century BC. That an invader 'barbarian' minority might rule an area and then be absorbed into a nation's elite, is not uncommon, as it happened to the Goths in the Roman Empire.

Wilkens points out,

What is more, Herodotus tells us that the city of Athens was founded by a non-Greek people, the Pelasgians, meaning Sea Peoples. According to him, the Pelasgians changed the names of many Greek towns and began speaking Greek when they had integrated with the local population.

It was a legend noted by 12th century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae, that Brutus founded a city on the Thames which he called Troia Nova, or New Troy. He speaks of wars on the continent between Trojans who came to settle in England with Brutus and Gauls, and connects Brutus with Greece. The story of Brutus features the giant Gogmagog, for which the place in Cambridgeshire seems to have been named.

The legends of Britain collected in the 1800's indicate a warlike people, with a strong role for females and very much the possibility of going to war with rulers of adjacent land who they were related to, over issues of honour. The legend of the Trojan history of London is commented on noting that the British had a clear affection for Troy and Homer's work

The early invasion in Greek history about 1200BCE by possibly fair haired sea peoples with hints of warlike forces on sea and land covering vast distance and the adoption of the Greek culture by these people explains why some Greek heros and gods might be blond.

the god Apollo is described as blond! In his elegy Eunomia, "Good Order," Tyrtaeos wrote around 600 BCE, "The love of money and naught else shall ruin Sparta. ... Thus hath golden-haired Apollo prophesied from his rich shrine." [quoted in Ancient Greece: Myth and History, by H B Cotterill (New Lanark, Scotland: Geddes & Grossett, 2004), p 187.]
Another ancient writer comments that the Thracians were blue-eyed and blond. ..Xenophanes wrote his major poem Peri Physeos, "On Nature," in the 500s BCE, abjuring the practice of anthropomorphism of the gods, noting how each race of people made the idols of their gods in their own likeness. He comments that while the Ethiopians make their gods black, the Thracian makes his blue-eyed and blond. [Ancient Greece: Myth and History, p 221.]
..about 265 BCE), the Greek poet ... The Argonautica of Apollonios tells us that "Jason was a handsome northern aristocrat with long blond hair ...." [Harvard Archaeologist Mauricio Obregón in Beyond the Sea (NY: The Modern Library, 2001), citing the Argonautica. ]
One divine princess..and mother of the Hellennic peoples, is described as a "red-blonde." Antiquities researcher Graham Hancock comments on the characters in the story of Prometheus, the god who stole fire from the gods and gave it to humans. Citing "the most widespread version of the story of Prometheus" Hancock points out that Prometheus married a human female, who bore him a son called Deucalion, consisered the father of the Greek race. Deucalion "ruled over the country of Phthia, Thessaly, and took to wife Pyrrha, the 'red-blonde,' daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora. [Fingerprints of the Gods, by Graham Hancock (London: Arrow, 1998), p 210.] ...
There is considerable comment published on the movement of the "Sea Peoples" and some disagreement on whether the "Greeks" (Hellenes) should be considered part of them. At any rate some of the "Sea Peoples" settled into some of the areas associated with the early and later Greeks, and merged with these "Greeks." (also,)

If there were blonds and red-heads among the sea peoples, who settled as conquerors placing their ancestors as gods in the Greek culture it might explain this aspect of Greek culture. Homer's work is one of the oldest Greek works. Another researcher has found reference to the Achaeans whom Homer speaks of, also known as Danaoi, being blond.

Pyrrha the mother of Hellen (the eponymous founder of the Hellenes) had red-golden hair (flavam religas comam) as described by Horace (Carm. i. 5) while her son Xuthus also derived his name from his fair hair (xanthe or xanthos). The ancient Greek lyric poet Pindar wrote that the hair of the Achaeans (Danaoi) was blonde (Nem. ix. 18).Bacchylides wrote that the hair of the Spartans was blonde (Dith. xx. 2). The Spartans were the Dorians (Heracleidae) who claimed descent from Heracles. According to Euripides, Heracles was yellow haired (Her. 234, 360 ff) while Pausanias (ix. 34. 5) describes his eyes as ''bright'' e.g. light blue (charops).
.Menelaus, the legendary ruler of pre-Dorian Sparta is called xanthos (blond) throughout Homer's texts (Il. ii. 284; iii. 434; Od. i. 280; iii. 168)

It is clear the Homer's writing is embellished at the least, but it does indicate extensive travels and sea trade. Evidence indicates a connection that is backed by the scriptures. At the very latest at the time of Moses about 1500BCE already the scribes were able to write with confidence of the restless peoples from Japheth who favoured 'the isles' or coasts,

Genesis 10:2-5 The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. (3) And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. (4) And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. (5) By these were the isles (Coasts) of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.

There is the sense that they set off in ships to 'divide' the coasts, or as the Hebrew indicates, 'separated themselves' as individual family based tribes along the coasts and rivers. To Hebrews, 'Javan' eventually came to refer to the Ioninan Greeks. So to the Hebrews in 1500BCE Tarshish was of the sons of the ancestor of the Greeks. It is not unreasonable then to by 1200-1100BCE have a Greek-Trojan king of a Britain which at that time the Hebrews called 'Tarshish.' There is every evidence these peoples named places after themselves or their father's name. If the battles of Troy are set about 1200BCE it matches the time of the Judges, also a time of disorder and many battles. The Hebrews substantiate that there may have already been considerable and widespread settlement over sea routes by the sons of Japheth by 1500BCE.

Modern historians are continuing to learn about the past. Indications are that the ancients occupied the earth widely, and literally replenished the earth from the time of Babel. It seems people were scattered over the face of the earth, led by the sea peoples. Those who chose to make their trade routes on the sea, who early and rapidly covered great distances.

For a company called the 'Odessey' to bring up two British ships one named for Indian royal house and waterfall, carrying silver and tea and another named for a Greek stringed instrument points to the revival of Tarshish, after 70 years.

Isa 23:14 Howl, ye ships of Tarshish: for your strength is laid waste.
Isaiah 23:15-17 And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot. (16) Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou may be remembered. And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth.

It just so happens that 2011 is precisely 70 years after 1941, the year the SS Gairsoppa was sunk. It is this year that Britain has emerged as a a catalyst of action among the nations, most notably in Libya. It is possible the 'New Troy' of London is the new Tyre, the daughter of Tarshish. And so much silver,

Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz,. Jeremiah 10:9
Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs. Ezekiel 27:12

These were merchants who sing of Tyre (Ezekiel 27:25).

But the return will be brief as it is not over, as it was also written,

“Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind. Psalm 48:7


For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down,.. and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he arises to shake terribly the earth.
In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; (Isaiah 2:12-20)

When King David's great son reigns in Zion,

The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Psa 72:10
And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the LORD: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing. (Isaiah 23:18)

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