- "Pirates had infected the seas for generations, taking the life of my father and his father before, so I vowed to end this plague once and for all. And that is what I did, I destroyed dozens of ships. The last ones joined together to try defeat me but they soon realized it was hopeless. Nothing could stop the Silent Mary."
- ―Armando Salazar
The Silent Mary was a Spanish Royal Navy galleon that sailed in the Caribbean during the Age of Piracy. Most notably commanded by Capitán Armando Salazar, she was the pride of the Spanish Navy and its most feared pirate-hunting ship. During one of her missions, the Silent Mary was lost in the mysterious waters of the Devil's Triangle, but after years of imprisonment she returned to the Seven Seas transformed into a terrifying specter crewed by ghosts.
- 1 History
- 2 Design and appearance
- 3 Behind the scenes
- 4 Appearances
- 5 Notes and references
It is unknown when or where the Silent Mary was built, but she quickly became the pride of the Spanish Royal Navy. Her main mission was to search the seas for pirates to destroy. Carrying one hundred cannons, crewed by well-trained sailors loyal to Spain, and captained by a decorated officer Armando Salazar, the Silent Mary was soon known as the most feared pirate-hunting ship of her time.
Attack on the pirate fleet
On one occasion, the Silent Mary encountered a pirate fleet of ten ships. Even though the Spanish were outnumbered, the firepower of the Silent Mary and the skills of her crew were far superior to those of the pirate ships and their crews. In a fierce battle the Spanish sank most of the fleet, with the Silent Mary evading any serious damage. Soon, almost all of the pirate ships were nothing but burning wrecks. A few survivors in the water were mercilessly shot by the Spanish soldiers on Salazar's order. However, one pirate ship, the Wicked Wench, remained afloat, and Salazar ordered his men to follow it.
With Salazar himself at the helm, the Silent Mary chased the Wicked Wench over the sea, until both ships approached the Devil's Triangle, a mysterious area surrounded by gigantic reefs and covered in eternal darkness. Just when the pirates were about to enter the giant cave in front of them, they made an insane maneuver, catching the reefs of the port side with ropes and instantly turning their ship to the left at the last moment. Since the Silent Mary was too close to the Wench, the Spanish did not have enough time to do the same.
Narrowly avoiding a collision with the Wench, the Silent Mary continued sailing straight into the Triangle. Sailing fast through the unknown waters and surrounded with darkness, the Spanish could do nothing to slow down their ship and save it from the approaching disaster. The Silent Mary struck the reef mere moments after she entered the cave, turning the bow into splinters. The main mast broke close to deck level, falling off the starboard side and breaking part of the railing, but the shrouds kept it connected to the ship.
The crash also resulted in several fires and explosions of gunpowder on the ship, causing panic among the sailors and soldiers onboard, and the Silent Mary was immediately engulfed in flames. The Spanish could not stop the fire from spreading, and the explosions quickly killed the entire crew, including the captain, whose body fell overboard. Soon, no one aboard the Silent Mary was alive, as the once magnificent ship was reduced to a burning wreck doomed to remain trapped on the rocks forever.
Trapped in the Triangle
However, fate had other plans for the Silent Mary and her crew. While the ship was still burning, the mysterious supernatural forces brought the Spanish back from the dead as ghosts hell-bent on revenge. They remained trapped in the Triangle for many years, while the Silent Mary slowly turned into a decaying and terrifying ghost ship.
Many years after the incident, the Spanish noticed a Dutch barque entering the cave. The ship was flying the black pirate flag, and the undead Spanish sailors immediately attacked the vessel. The Spanish easily slaughtered the pirates and sunk their ship, leaving only the floating debris behind.
However, a few minutes later another vessel, a British warship called the Monarch entered the Triangle. Though the British noticed the Spanish ship, at first they thought she wasn't a threat, because she was just a wreck. Surrounded by heavy fog, the Silent Mary slowly approached the British vessel, alarming the British commanding officer, Captain Toms, who ordered his men to open fire on the Silent Mary. Despite the heavy cannon fire from the Monarch, the Silent Mary was unstoppable, and her undead sailors used their ghostly powers to run across water and attack the British crew. Soon, the battle ended with the complete victory for the Spanish.
Escape from the Triangle
Some time after the destruction of the Monarch, the crew of the Silent Mary was spending another day trapped in eternal darkness of the Triangle. As the ship sailed through the dark waters, the crew was scrubbing the decks that would never come clean, and mending sails that could never be mended. However, something unusual broke the monotony. The highest peak of one of the rocky formations around the Mary suddenly crumbled, allowing a single ray of sunlight to find its way through the dark clouds. The ship's wheel suddenly started turning on its own, shocking the crew. Lieutenant Lesaro asked Salazar what was happening, as the captain realized that Jack Sparrow had betrayed his compass, which was retaliating by freeing the Spanish ship and its crew from the Triangle's hold.
As the reefs around the ship slowly sank beneath the waves, the Mary's tattered sails were filled with wind, and the ship sailed for the open sea. The crew basked in the clean sky for the first time in decades, as their prison finally completely collapsed around them. The Silent Mary was once again free to roam the seas. As the crew cheered, Salazar declared it was time for them to hunt a pirate. A moment later he spotted a ship on the horizon - a ship flying the Jolly Roger, and the Silent Mary immediately gave chase.
Search for Jack Sparrow
- "Sir, we have reports of ships burning at sea. An unknown enemy has taken to these waters."
- ―British officer and John Scarfield
Salazar mercilessly continued with his original mission, leading his ship and crew against all the pirates in the Caribbean. One of the first victims of Salazar's wrath was the Red Dragon, a ship belonging to the pirate fleet of Captain Hector Barbossa. Using his supernatural powers, Salazar bent the ship's bow backwards, opening its broken ribs like the jaws of some giant sea beast, steering the ship straight into the pirate vessel which was broken in half by the ghost ship's hull. Like he did with Henry Turner, Salazar left one pirate alive to spread the tale of his return.
Over the next few days the Silent Mary destroyed more pirate ships, allowing the dead to take command of the sea. Three more ships from Barbossa's fleet suffered the same fate as the Red Dragon - the Jonty Lark, the Golden Pheasant, and the Rising Phoenix. The Silent Mary did not limit its attacks to pirate vessels. As it sailed through the waters around the island of Saint Martin the Mary destroyed several British ships. The reports of an unknown enemy eventually reached Lieutenant John Scarfield, the commanding officer of the British forces on Saint Martin. At the same time the pirate survivors of the Silent Mary's attacks informed their colleagues about Salazar's campaign, who in turn told Barbossa about the destruction of his fleet.
After sinking some ships, the Mary was met by the Queen Anne's Revenge, captained by Hector Barbossa. Just as Salazar steered the Mary to destroy the Revenge Barbossa loudly yelled from the Revenge's forecastle, proclaiming that he knew about Salazar's search for Jack Sparrow. Salazar immediatelly stopped his attack, leaving half of the Mary bent in the air, with cannons from the lower decks hanging from the ropes. Salazar and his crew boarded the Revenge, where the undead Spaniards killed a few pirates until Barbossa and the ghostly pirate hunter made a deal - the pirate captain would lead the Spaniards to Jack Sparrow and in exchange they would spare his life and the lives of his crew.
During the journey Barbossa personally steered the Silent Mary, using the magical compass which he obtained some time earlier from the sea witch Shansa to lead him to Sparrow. Barbossa managed to locate Jack's ship, the Dying Gull, off the coast of Hangman's Bay, but since Jack, along with Henry Turner and Carina Smyth, were left on a dinghy, the Silent Mary pursued them instead of the sloop, and released undead sharks in order to kill the pirate. The three fugitives found salvation on dry land, where the cursed crew couldn't follow them, forcing the ghosts to return aboard the Silent Mary waiting for another chance.
After Barbossa betrayed Salazar and went after the Trident of Poseidon himself, the Silent Mary chased the reborn Black Pearl until near Black rock island, destroying the Essex, that was pursuing them too, in the process. There, the two ships engaged in battle, while Carina continued piloting the ship towards the Poseidon's Tomb. The crews tried to fight against each other, but after exchanging some blows the Pearl ran aground, where the Mary could not follow, so the ghost ship retreated with her crew and a captured Henry Turner.
When Carina Smyth managed to open the Tomb, Salazar was forced to possess Henry Turner's body in order to follow them, and his crew followed him while remaining under the sea, leaving the Silent Mary behind. The ship's further fate is unknown.
Design and appearance
- "As much as I love that plan, no vessel can outrun that wretched hull of a ship."
- ―Jack Sparrow
A three-masted ship of war, the Silent Mary was originally the pride of the Spanish Royal Navy. A large, multi-decked vessel built for battle, she was perfect for hunting pirates on the Seven Seas, or destroying the ships of the nations hostile to Spain.
The ship's wheel was located on the quarterdeck, on a platform slightly taller than the rest of the deck, that also extended all the way behind the mizzen mast to the entrance into the captain's quarters and the poop deck above. The gangways, located directly above the guns on the main deck, connected the quarterdeck to the forecastle. By the time when the Silent Mary became a ghost ship, the gangways and their railing have collapsed in several places, and were no longer usable, forcing the ship's crew to walk directly across the main deck. The ship's figurehead, located beneath the bowsprit, showed a woman holding a spear. Like many other Spanish ships of the time, the Silent Mary had a spritsail topmast at the end of the bowsprit.
The rigging of the Silent Mary had three masts: the fore, the mizzen, and the main. The foremast was rigged with a fore course, a fore topsail, and a fore topgallant sail, the mainmast with a main course, a main topsail, and a main topgallant sail, and the mizzenmast with a mizzen course, a mizzen topsail, and a mizzen topgallant sail. There was also a spritsail on the bowsprit. The main course was decorated with the Coat of arms of the Holy Roman Emperors, the usual emblem of the Spanish monarchy of the time, which made the ship's nationality easily recognizable on the high seas. The great coat of arms of the Spanish Bourbon dynasty was prominently displayed on the back of the ship, right above the captain's cabin. The quarter galleries were adorned with two towers, giving the ship's stern the appearance of an old castle.
Originally, the Silent Mary's main armament consisted of seventy-six 36-pound cannons, twenty-eight on the gun deck, twenty-four on the middle deck and twenty-four on the main deck. She also carried four 36-pounders on the quarterdeck and four 36-pounders on the forecastle. She also had four stern chasers located beneath the captain's cabin. Four guns were mounted inside the two tower-like structures at the forecastle, two in each tower. Eight more guns were mounted inside the four towers on the quarter galleries at the back of the ship. During the sinking of the Silent Mary in the Devil's Triangle, approximately three dozen cannons fell off the ship, mostly from the quarterdeck and the lowest, most damaged gun deck. However, even with her firepower reduced, the Mary was still more than a match for every pirate ship on the high seas.
While she was trapped in the Devil's Triangle, the Silent Mary suffered a dramatic transformation. With her keel, bottom, and lower decks almost completely destroyed, her ribs exposed to the weather and many planks broken or missing, her sails in tatters and all of her masts broken, the Silent Mary became nothing more than a wreck. In normal circumstances, any ship that suffered such extensive damage would sink the moment it touched the water. However, defying the laws of physics, the Silent Mary continued to sail like a completely normal seaworthy ship, even though she was more a skeleton than a ship. Now a terrifying specter, she became the main tool of Salazar's vengeance. Using his magic, Salazar could easily bend the ship's bow backwards and open the ship's ribs like the jaws of some giant sea monster. He would then crash the Silent Mary on the deck of an enemy vessel, breaking it in half, while the Silent Mary, protected by Salazar's magic, and despite her decaying appearance, was seemingly indestructible. Another aspect of the ship's hull that could be transformed by Salazar's will was the ability to animate the figurehead into a living, hulking and seemingly sentient wooden monster that attacked enemies.
Unusually for ships of her size, the Silent Mary was very fast. She easily caught up with the Wicked Wench when she followed her toward the Devil's Triangle, despite the Wench's headstart. Even when she was just a wreck with all of her masts broken and her sails nothing but torn rags, the Silent Mary remained one of the fastest ships on the high seas.
Behind the scenes
- The Silent Mary was portrayed by a prop built in Gold Coast, Australia. That same prop, in a slightly different form, was used to portray two British Royal Navy ships, the Monarch and the Essex. All parts of the Silent Mary above the lowest sails and below the main deck were computer generated.
- The first artist to work on the Silent Mary was Andrew Hodgson. He modeled all of the towers, masts and the bow of the ship. The Silent Mary's architect, production designer Nigel Phelps, described the ship as a floating Spanish castle at sea, all battered and bruised from years of relentless warfare against the pirates. Chad Oman described the cursed version of the Silent Mary as supernatural, a ghost in a way that Salazar himself is a ghost.
- The Spanish name of this ship would be La Silenciosa María. She was called Maria Silencio in Disney Pirates: The Definitive Collector's Anthology. In early concept work of Jeremy Love the ship's stern had a nameplate which revealed the ship's name as La María Silenciosa.
- According to Jeremy Love the ship's original name was the Rotterdam which was changed into the Silent Mary in the Devil's Triangle.
- In Jeff Nathanson's 2013 early draft of the Dead Men Tell No Tales script the Silent Mary was a British Royal Navy warship, not Spanish. Sixteen years before the events of the film, during a battle with the Spanish Royal Navy, the Mary's captain, John Brand, lost his brother, Eric, who was saved by the crew of the Black Pearl and eventually became a pirate himself. The Mary attacked Eric's ship, and Brand unknowingly killed his own brother, causing him to vow revenge on Jack Sparrow. The Mary followed the Pearl into the Devil's Triangle where the Navy vessel fell into a trap and sank. Since the Triangle was made by the Greek god Hades Brand and his men became ghosts, and the Silent Mary turned into a ghost ship doomed to sail the Triangle forever. Sixteen years later, Brand retreived the Trident of Poseidon and freed the Mary from the Triangle, but the ghost ship was followed by the Black Pearl. During the final battle the ship was last seen magically sailing over the sand dunes at the bottom of the ocean.
- The Silent Mary shares many similarities with the Nuestra Señora de Lágrimas, the Spanish treasure galleon which appears in On Stranger Tides, a novel which was used as the basis for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
- The Silent Mary bears a strong resemblance to the 17th century French warship La Couronne.
- It was never shown in the film what became of the Silent Mary after the curse was broken. It is possible that she, like her doomed crew, was restored to her proper whole and intact state, only to be left at the mercy of the wind and tides with nobody to sail her. Alternatively she could have remained a wreck and sunk to the bottom of the sea once the magic keeping her animated was lost.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Tides of War
- The Brightest Star in the North: The Adventures of Carina Smyth (First appearance)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Notes and references
- Disney Pirates: The Definitive Collector's Anthology, p124.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Novelization, p82.
- Three of the ships destroyed by Salazar were named by Murtogg and Mullroy when they informed Barbossa about Salazar's attack, but that part was cut from the final version of the movie. However, it can be seen in the behind the scenes videos.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Novelization, p87.
- andrewhodgson.artstation.com Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales - The Silent Mary
- The Matador & The Bull : Secrets of Salazar & The Silent Mary
- Disney Pirates: The Definitive Collector's Anthology, p116.
- Selected images from my time on Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Men Tell No Tales. at JL
- Jeremy Love's opinion on the Silent Mary.
- Dead Men Tell No Tales script by Jeff Nathanson, second draft, 5/6/2013