Grichuna USO Sighting
Location: At Sea, Off Florida Coast
The Grichuna was loaded with coal when it left South Carolina in route to Japan in 1968. The ships second officer, was on night watch, Midnight to 4:00 a.m., as the vessel was off the coast of Florida.
Seas were calm, and the Grichuna was making about 15 knots with good visibility. The officer was on the ship's port side, watching the lights of Palm Beach. He was distracted by lights under the water. The strange lights were about 40' deep, and 115' from the ship. The object was similar to an airplane, except it had no wings or tail. The officer could plainly see windows on the craft. He was not able to count the windows, but he estimated them at 10 or more. The object was moving with the ship, yet crossing their course by 30°. The speed of the USO was about twice that of the Grichuna. It soon sped under the ship's bow, he estimated the draft at 30'.
There was a seaman on the bridge on standby at the wheel, but he was not told of the sighting at the time. However, the 2nd officer asked him if he had seen anything, and the seaman confirmed seeing a gloom under the water.
This ruled out the possibility of it being a naval submarine. Although there were some tourist subs with windows, they would not be operating at night, and would not have ventured so close to a ship the size of the Grichuna, which was 820' long. Also, 30 knots was beyond the capability of submarines at that time.