Are Prometheus and Kerberos Based on Real Ships in 1899?

Netflix’s ‘1899’ revolves around a passenger ship, Kerberos, traveling from London to New York in the titular year. On its way, Captain Eyk receives signals from another steamship. Four months ago, Prometheus, built by the same company as Kerberos, went missing. When the captain zeroes in on the location based on the coordinates, he sees that Prometheus went missing around the same area. As a dutiful man, he decides to take a detour and check out the other ship.

On reaching the location, Eyk finds the adrift vessel and confirms that it is Prometheus. With Kerberos in close proximity to the mysterious ship, weird incidents start to happen and chaos ensues. The story of the ship going missing in the sea reminds us of the Bermuda Triangle. Created by Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese, the core premise of ‘1899’ seems to be inspired by ship incidents that are rumored to be connected with The Devil’s Triangle. So, does ‘1899‘ have any connection with this subject? Are Prometheus and Kerberos based on real ships? Let us find out. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Were Prometheus and Kerberos Real Ships?

No, Prometheus and Kerberos were not real ships. While there was a real British ship by the name of HMS Prometheus that was launched in 1898, its voyages were not nearly as mysterious as that of the ships in ‘1899’. So, it is likely that the similarity in their names is just a coincidence. The ships in the Netflix series might be inspired by the stories of the real ones that went missing in the ocean.  While numerous cases have come to light, two significant ones share a close resemblance to the story of ‘1899.’

Image Credit: Rasmus Voss/Netflix

The first is the case of the USS Proteus, USS Nereus, and USS Cyclops. These were three of the four bulk cargo ships designed by the US Navy, and all three disappeared under unknown circumstances. While Cyclops vanished in 1918, Nereus and Proteus were last seen in 1941. There are several theories, including the poorly built structure of the vessels and a possible attack from a German U-boat during the wars. But none of these are conclusive.

Image Credit: Naval History and Heritage Command

One other theory is that these ships disappeared because of the Bermuda Triangle. While no official documentation supports this, it is interesting to note that all three ships disappeared near the Triangle. Considering these incidents and how the three were sister ships, the case is analogous to Prometheus and Kerberos. Both vessels in ‘1899’ are built by the same steamship company and seem to have a similar design.

Another case, which comes even closer to the fictional series, involves the conspiracy theories around Ellen Austin. One of its journeys in 1881 became the subject of endless speculations. According to the legend, while traveling in 1881, Ellen Austin found a vessel a little North of the Sargasso Sea. The unnamed ship wasn’t propelling in any direction but remained adrift in the waters. After multiple attempts to make contact, the captain sent a small crew to unravel its mystery.

When the crew got on board, they found everything in normal conditions, but there was no sign of human life. The supplies were full, and it didn’t look like the ship had been caught in a storm. So, the captain decided to send a salvage crew to tow the ship so that both vessels could reach the destination together. However, a storm broke out on the way, and once again, the captain found the ship deserted, with no sign of his crew members. He sent another team to captain the ship, but a few days into their travels, a thick fog enveloped the surroundings. When it finally subsided, there was no sign of the salvage crew and the enigmatic vessel.

While there are many more theories and extended stories around this quasi-real story, no objective evidence supports the occurrence of the incident. However, the tale, real or not, reminds us of ‘1899’ and the two ships in it. Kerberos encounters Prometheus just like Ellen Austin did the unnamed ship. In both cases, there is no sign of life. But here’s the kicker in Ellen Austin’s story. The ship’s journey began in England and ended in the USA. In ‘1899‘, Kerberos starts from London, England, and is bound for New York, USA. Considering all this, we can deduce that while Prometheus and Kerberos are not based on any specific ships, their stories are inspired by the rumors and speculations regarding several ghost ships over the years.

Read More: Where Was 1899 Filmed?