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Robert Smalls, a slave who freed himself his crew & their families by overtaking Confederate ship, CSS Planter, and sailing it north. The ship contained a code book letting them pass CSA checkpoints. He became new captain of the ship & convinced Lincoln to admit African Americans to the Army

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In 1856 an American clipper was approaching Cape Horn when its captain collapsed, leaving his 19-year-old wife to navigate through one of the world's deadliest sea passages. She commanded for 56 days, faced down a mutiny, and navigated the clipper ship into San Francisco

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  1. On his travels through the Arctic, naturalist George Steller described a mysterious creature known as the Danish Sea Ape. While this has since perplexed scientists, evidence indicates that he was not describing an animal, but rather subtly mocking the ship's Danish captain, who he despised.

  2. The most successful pirate captain of the Golden Age of Piracy, "Black" Bart, had very strict rules on his ship, prohibiting all lights and drinking after 8 in the evening. There was also a complete ban on gambling. If a crew member got hurt, he received a pension proportionate to his injury

  3. RMS Titanic" fired 8 emergency flares before sinking. A ship in the area, the "SS Californian", saw the flares and that the ship appeared uneven in the water. The crew told the captain, who did not believe the rockets were fired in distress. All of Titanic's passengers could have been rescued.

  4. Robert Smalls who born into slavery stole a confederate military ship, disguised himself as a captain, used a secret code book and hand signals to pass Confederate guard ships, rescued slaves and families, worked as military advisor to the union until war ends and ran for Congress and won.

  5. A 12 year old boy, Hunter Scott, who in the course of doing a history project for school, found enough evidence to lead to a Congressional investigation that ended up exonerating a US Navy ship's captain for wrongdoing, 55 years after his court martial.

  6. Apollo 13 Astronaut Jim Lovell had a cameo in the movie Apollo 13. He requested to play the captain of the ship that rescues him, because that was the same rank he held when he retired from the Navy

  7. Captain Christopher Jones of the Mayflower forced their ship to land early at Plymouth Rock because of the ships dwindling supply of beer. Before pasteurization was discovered in 1864, beer through the process of fermentation, was safer to drink than water.

  8. The USS Johnston was saluted by a Japanese destroyer captain as it was sinking, after spending nearly 3 hours squaring off against 23 Japanese ships, including 4 Battleships, 8 Cruisers and 11 destroyers.

  9. In 1120 the the captain of the White Ship was encouraged by on-board revelers to try and overtake another vessel on which King Henry I was a passenger. In the dark the ship hit a submerged rock and capsized, leading to the death of Henry's only heir, which led to a 20 year civil war.

  10. A man who survived a shipwreck in 1628 and transformed into a murderous dictator over the remaining survivors. He and his henchmen killed over 100 men, women and children over a 2 month period while stranded. Ultimately he was overcome by a group loyal to the ship's captain and was executed.

ship captain facts
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A Russian named Vasili Arkhipov avoided causing WWIII after refusing his captain's orders to launch nuclear torpedoes at US war ships during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. 2 of the 3 officers on board wanted to fire the missile, however a unanimous decision was required.

Despite the common misconception, in most countries ship captains are not actually able to perform marriages, and the United States Navy had to make a rule specifically forbidding captains from doing so. - source

In 1961, the captain of a ship named "Bluebelle" killed all its passengers except a young girl who he left for dead in the ship he scuttled, the girl was able to escape and drifted for four days on sea before rescued, the captain later committed suicide upon learning of her survival. - source

Charles Darwin wasn't the first choice to go on the voyage in which he theorized the Theory of Evolution. He got the spot because other candidates turned down the captain's invitation. Meanwhile, the captain just wanted a travel buddy because commanding a ship was very stressful and lonely.

The pirate captain Benjamin Hornigold once attacked a ship just to replace his crew's hats. They got drunk the previous night and they tossed theirs overboard. - source

What is it called when a captain abandons ship?

John Newton was the captain of a slave ship. In 1748 he encountered a severe storm and, although being non-religious, prayed out to God for safety. This event changed his life. He later became a clergy member, an abolitionist, and wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace" about his experience.

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In 16th and 17th Century Denmark, merchant ship captains had to pay a toll based on the value of the goods on the ship. The value was declared by the captain. The Danish authorities could take the value based toll (1-2%) or opt to buy the cargo for the declared value.

In 1695 six pirate captains banded together to capture the Ganj-i-Sawal, a Mughal treasure ship. They are believed have seized as much as £600,000 (approximately $121 million in today's currency), possibly the most from any single ship in history, as well as a relative of the Mughal Emperor.

During a film sequence of Top Gun, an aircraft carrier captain changed the ships course and altered the lighting of a shot. Director tony Scott was told it would cost $25,000 to change its course. He quickly wrote a check, the course was reverted,and got 5 more minutes to get his shot.

In Star Trek, Captain Kirk's phrase "You have the conn" has its origins in early battleships dating as far back as the 1860s; these ships were built with conning towers. A conning tower is a raised platform on a ship or submarine from which an officer in charge can issue commands.

Titanic's maiden voyage was delayed due to a collision between the Olympic and the Royal Navy Ship the Hawke, causing White Star Line to salvage parts from the unfinished Titanic to fix the Olympic. The captain of the Olympic at the time was eventually the first and last Captain of the titanic.

What does the captain yell when the ship is going down?

A former slave ship captain wrote the song "Amazing Grace."

The first Japanese person to obtain a bachelor's degree was a 21-year-old who snuck a ride to America aboard a U.S. ship in 1864. The ship's captain had to hide him from Japanese customs officials, as Japan still had the death penalty for anyone who traveled abroad without permission.

John Newton, most famous for writing "Amazing Grace," spent the early part of his life as a sailor, then captain, on several slaving ships before converting to a life of evangelical Christianity. Late in life he became an abolitionist, expressing regret that it had taken him so long to do so.

The Titanic captain Edward Smith had crashed another ship just seven months before the Titanic sunk

The captain of the Costa Condordia has yet to serve any of his prison sentence, and even taught a panic management course two years after he panicked and abandoned his ship before any passengers could get off.

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Captain Hazelwood was widely portrayed as as a drunk captain who steered the Exxon Valdez aground in 1989. He was in his berth at the time of the collision, the drug test with his name was mishandled, and a search of the ship only turned up two beer bottles.

In 1812 Charles Barnard, a captain of an American sealer ship, rescued marooned British sailors from the Falkland Islands despite the 2 countries being at war. While he searched for provisions, the British sailors stole his ship and he himself was marooned for 18 months.

During the battle of Okinawa, a US destroyer was hit by four bombs, six kamikaze attacks, multiple strafing, and still remained afloat. When the captain was asked to abandon ship, he angrily replied "I'll never abandon ship as long as a single gun will fire."

The captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship who sank in 2012, stated that he didn't try to escape but rather "slipped off the ship when it turned over and fell into a lifeboat".

First diesel ships were confusing to other captains, as there was no steam exhaust to signify a ship was under movement (say, from a steam engine), causing ships to unintentionally cross paths.

A toilet break once sank a submarine. When the captain of U-1206 was unable to operate the toilet, he called in an engineer, who flipped the wrong switch, causing water to flood in and filled the ship with chlorine gas. The ship surfaced, was spotted, and was attacked and scuttled.

Captain Morgan (who the rum is named after) sailed as a legally sanctioned privateer of the British Government to pillage Spanish ships. King George II then knighted Captain Morgan for his efforts.

L. Ron Hubbard was the captain of a ship during WWII, but was removed from command for accidentally shelling Mexican territory.

U 1206 was a submarine that Germany’s top minds had produced a high tech toilet for which allowed them to flush while being submerged. Flushing was only allowed for specially trained sailors. On its first mission its captain flushed himself which lead to a malfunction and the ship being sunk.

There is an very isolated island in the Pacific inhabited entirely by the descendants of a group of British sailors who mutinied against their captain in 1789, kidnapped a dozen Polynesian girls, and resolved to "run before the wind, and land upon the first island the ship drives."

The captain of a nearby ship ignored the Titanic's distress calls and could have saved countless passengers had it intervened.

The first naval confrontation of WW1 was in North Africa on lake Nyasa. The captain of HMS Gwendolen took the German ship by surprise and captured it as the German captain had no idea the war had even started, the captains were also quite good friends and drinking buddies.

In the movie "Captain Phillips," in order to build tension, the actors playing crew members on the ship did not meet the Somali pirate actors until filming the scene when they stormed the bridge. Tom Hanks said they were "the skinniest, scariest human beings I had ever come across".

When Captain James Cook became the first European to set foot in Hawaii in 1779 his arrival coincided with an annual festival honouring a god. Since the natives had never seen white men or massive sailing ships like Cook’s, they assumed he was their deity and lavished him with feasts and gifts

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