The Mary Celeste was a sea-faring vessel, a brigantine on Earth in the 19th century. In 1872, Mary Celeste was found adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Portugal. Devoid of her crew, she was found unmanned and under full sail heading towards the Strait of Gibraltar. How and why the ship lost her crew remains a mystery to this day.

The Mary Celeste became the basis of a Human popular culture "ghost ship" legend, and is often used to describe a situation when the crew or populous of something or somewhere has inexplicably disappeared. The fate of the crew is the subject of much speculation, with theories ranging from alcoholic fumes to underwater earthquakes, and a large number of fictional accounts.

In 2254 when the USS Enterprise was sent to investigate after a number of ships were discovered adrift, Captain Pike described the situation in his log entry as; investigating a "fleet of Marie Celestes". (EV comic: "Flesh of My Flesh")

The mystery of the Mary Celeste was Benjamin Sisko's favorite seagoing legend. He was fascinated that the ship's stoves were still on, the crew's meals half eaten and that its crew went missing in the middle of an ocean. (DS9 novel: The Long Night)

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