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Karaboudjan at Day

The ship as seen in The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.

The Karaboudjan (Alias: Djebel Amilah) is a steam merchant ship that appears in The Crab with the Golden Claws. Its name is supposedly Armenian, though it is strange to consider as the country of Armenia does not have a coast line. The ship was under the command of Captain Archibald Haddock until his control was taken over by his turned-rogue first mate, Allan Thompson.

Role in Book[]

Tintin first comes across this ship in after acquiring a slip of crab tin paper with the word Karaboudjan scrawled on it, which he uses as a clue for an investigation to do with a murdered sailor named Herbert Dawes. After being kidnapped and captured by the crew of the Karaboudjan until he is freed by Snowy, Tintin learns that the ship's cargo hold contains opium, disguised as tins of crab meat. This drug-smuggling venture was what Herbert Dawes, a former crew member of the ship, attempted to expose before his killing to Bunji Kuraki, a police agent from Japan.

Later on during the events of the story, Tintin and his dog Snowy met the captain of the ship, Archibald Haddock, and initially attempted to interrogate him as he thought that Haddock was behind the drug-smuggling, but it is later revealed that the ship's first mate, Allan Thompson, was actually the culprit commanding the transport of the opium and was responsible for crippling Haddock with alcohol.

After Tintin, Snowy and Haddock escape the Karaboudjan and are recuperated at the military outpost of Afghar, Morocco, they hear a radio news transmission announcing that the Karaboudjan "went down with all hands." However, this was later revealed to be false during the latter-half of the story when Captain Haddock recognises the ship in the Morrocan port city of Bagghar, disguised as the Djebel Amilah. Thanks to Haddock, the local police find out about this and arrest the crew, other associates of the opium smuggling, and Omar Ben Salaad, the mastermind of the scheme.

The ship does not appear or is ever referenced again in any further installments.

Identified Crew Members[]

Other Portrayals[]

In the animated series Hergé's Adventures of Tintin, Tintin had recognised the Karaboudjan as Captain Haddock's ship since both of them had already know each other in the altered continuity of the series. When the ship was sailed into unknown destination, Tintin found diamonds within the crab tins instead of opium before he saw Haddock being drugged with narcotics instead of being drunken by whiskey like he did in the original book. Also, Haddock recognised the ship in Bagghar being disguised as Tangiers instead of Djebel Amilah before finally he and Tintin know that the ship was really the Karaboudjan after seeing a life-vest being handed over to Allan Thompson.

In the 2011 motion-capture film, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, the Karaboudjan's role is largely the same as it was in the original story it appeared in that the film takes portions of its plot from, except it is not smuggling transport of opium and is instead used as transportation for Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine, who makes a deal with Allan Thompson to help with his scheme of acquiring all three of the model ships of The Unicorn so he can get access to their parchments uncovering the whereabouts of Sir Francis Haddock's treasure. The Karaboudjan is also where Sakharine captures Tintin for any information on the whereabouts of one or more of the parchments and it is also where Tintin finds out that Captain Haddock is an ancestor of Sir Francis rather than how he learns of it in the original Secret of the Unicorn book. The ship's name is also never disguised in the film nor is ever mentioned to have sunk as apart the cover-up in the original Crab with the Golden Claws book.


  • According to pg. 106 [1] of The Art of The Adventures of Tintin, Hergé based the Karaboudjan on the merchant ship, the Glenshiel. A vessel that was apart of a trio of sister cargo ships during the early 20th century. Though for many years the perceived wisdom was that the ship was based on the near-identical sister ship of the Glenshiel, the Glengarry.