Disappearance At Sea: Murder On the Bärbel

On August 18, 1993, the German ship MS Bärbel was found drifting in the North Sea, with not a soul onboard. There were signs of a struggle and blood was everywhere. The ship had been set on fire in multiple places, but the fire didn’t take hold. The only person found alive was a Russian sailor named Andrej Lapin. Discovered floating in a rubber dinghy near the ship, Lapin appeared completely unconcerned about his predicament. In his possession was a large sum of money, six cans of peaches, two suitcases, his passport, and a duvet. Lapin was taken against his will via helicopter to Esbjerg, Denmark, where he was questioned. Originally, Lapin stated that fire had broken out on the ship and he had jumped into a life raft, while others climbed into a separate raft, but during the interrogation, he changed his story. According to him, two crew members had attacked the captain and two other crew members with axes, managing to kill them all. Lapin had to kill the two axe-wielding maniacs to preserve his own life. Realizing that nobody would believe his story, he formulated a plan. He dumped the bodies into the sea, set fire to the ship, and jumped into a life raft. He also claimed that the large sum of money he was found with was his from a previous business deal. In court, Lapin came across as cold and emotionless, but the investigation reinforced that he was at least partially telling the truth. Blood and other evidence showed that each man had died where Lapin said they did. After months of court hearings and deliberation, Lapin's role in the killings could not be decided and the jury acquitted him. He left the court a free man. He also got to keep the money he had been found with in the dinghy. Sometime later, the MS Bärbel was refitted and put back into service. Who should apply for a job aboard the ship? Yep, you guessed it. None other than Adrej Lapin. He didn’t get the job.