The famous ghost ship, Mary Celeste, has been found by an expedition team off the coast of Haiti.

And in a further twist to the tale, the ship may have been sunk as part of an insurance scam.

A group headed by the author Clive Cussler and film producer John Davis said it had discovered the ghost ship's remains lying on the Rochelais reef, off the coast of Haiti.

The ship was found sailing off the Azores in 1872 with no-one aboard. The captain, his wife and two-year-old daughter were missing.

Davis believes the captain had tried to scuttle the ship by running her into the Rochelais reef off the coast of Haiti, but failed when the ship grounded on the coral and refused to sink.

The skipper then attempted to file “an exorbitant insurance claim for an exotic cargo that never existed”, Davis said.

After insurance inspectors at Lloyd's of London investigated and discovered the ship's actual cargo, the captain and his first mate were convicted on charges of what was then known as “barratry”.

Cussler said the fate of the original crew of the Mary Celeste looks likely to remain a mystery.