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Given the sea conditions this day and the second mate's probable extreme fatigue (the day before, he single-handed the ship in large waves), he may simply have fallen overboard unobserved.

If the second mate was deliberately disposed of, he was a better choice of victim than the steersman; the absence of a hand at the wheel might have led to disaster.

If the Romanian first mate was the killer, removing the second mate could be a good strategy to keep the ship’s other officer from influencing the captain or the other men. Perhaps the Romanian even feared the second mate had seen something he shouldn’t have.

"Mate and I [captain] agreed to go armed henceforth."

It would seem that his weapon was a knife, not a firearm (3 August). A knife would be a much better weapon for stealthy killing than a gun, and sailors—like many other workers of the era—customarily carried one. Not only is a sailor’s knife useful for a host of tasks on board ship, but it can be used to cut oneself free from the rigging in an emergency.

https://www.militariahub.com/new-british-late-19th-century-royal-navy-sailo-knife-new/

Crew remaining on 29 July: Captain, cook, first mate, three deck hands (6 out of 9)

Bryan Alexander

You are a splendidly meticulous reader and analyst! The count wouldn't have stood a chance against you.

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