A Journal entry found on the back of the novel, Life of Pi.
Sole survivor could shed no light on reasons for sinking of Tsimtum. Ship appears to have sunk very quickly, which would indicate a major hull breach. Important quantity of debris would support his theory. But precise reason for breach impossible to determine: No major weather disturbance reported that day in quadrant. Survivor’s assessment of weather impressionistic and unreliable. At most, weather a contributing factor. Cause was perhaps internal to ship. Survivor believes he heard an explosion, hinting at a major engine problem, possibly the explosion of a boiler, but this is a speculation. Ship twenty –nine years old (Erlandson and Skank shipyards, Malmo, 1948), refitted in 1970. Stress of weather combined with structural fatigue a possibility, but conjecture. No other ship mishap reported in area on that day, so ship-ship collision unlikely. Collision with debris a possibility, but unverifiable. Collision with a floating mine might explain explosion, but seems fanciful, besides highly unlikely as sinking started at stern, which in all likelihood would mean that hull breach was at stern too. Survivor cast doubts on fitness of crew but had nothing to say about officers. Oika shipping company claims all cargo absolutely licit and not aware of any officer or crew problem.
Cause of sinking impossible to determine from available evidence. Standard insurance claim procedure for Oika. No further action required. Recommend that case be closed.
As an aside, story of sole survivor, Mr. Piscine Molitor Patel, Indian citizen, is an astounding story of courage and endurance in the face of extraordinary difficult and tragic circumstances. In the experience of this investigator, his story is unparalleled in the history of shipwrecks. Very few castaways can claim to have survived so long at sea as Mr. Patel, and none in the company of an adult Bengal tiger.
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