AN ABANDONED oil tanker has sparked a major mystery after it washed up on a beach with no sign of any of its crew.
The Tamaya 1, a 64-metre long oil tanker registered in Panama, disappeared off the face of the Earth three weeks ago after all contact was lost with its crew.
But now the investigation has intensified after the large vessel built in 1980 was found by locals on the coast of Liberia in west Africa.
Beach goers alerted authorities when they found the boat abandoned with no sign of any crew on board or what became of them.
The boat had last been recorded near Gambia and Senegal, far north of Liberia, on April 21 and should have headed with its cargo to the port of Dakar in Senegal.
It is not clear how many people were on board, but life boats were also said to be missing.
One theory is the owner may have become insolvent and failed to pay the crew, so they simply abandoned ship.