The Merchant Alliance has recently caught a few tough breaks. Some of their shipments of cargo have not reached their destinations, and the vessels carrying the shipments are lost at sea.
Due to these unfortunate events, the Merchant Alliance is now asking for help! They will handsomely reward any pirate who can track down their lost ships and recover the manifests aboard them.
You can embark on this investigation by starting one of the new Lost Shipment voyages. Lost Shipment voyages will have you following a lost ship’s Trade Route while searching for Clues to the ship’s whereabouts along the way.
The Clues will ultimately lead to the lost vessel’s location, now shipwrecked in the ocean, and its manifest. Turning in the recovered Merchant’s Manifest to Merchant Alliance will yield a notable pile of gold!
Master sleuths may also find a Captain’s Key during the voyage. You can use the Captain’s Key to access the vast pile of cargo held in the Captain’s Cabin of the lost shipwreck.
Purchase the voyage
You can purchase a Lost Shipments voyage from Larinna, located outside any tavern in the Sea of Thieves.
You can also purchase the voyage from the Merchant Alliance, but you’ll need to be least reputation level of 25 with the Trading Company to do so.
If you are purchasing the voyage from the Merchant Alliance, the number of clues you’ll discover and loot you will retrieve will vary depending on your reputation level.
You can expect to find more clues and treasure the higher your Merchant Alliance reputation is. It is possible to find as many as four clues before finally finding the lost shipwreck.
Before leaving the Outpost, it wouldn’t hurt to throw up a Merchant Alliance Emissary Flag. You will be picking up dozens of Merchant Alliance crates along the way that will raise your Emissary Grade and make the payout even larger when you eventually turn in your loot.
Vote and start the voyage
Upon voting on and starting the voyage, you will receive one quest. This quest will be a Trade Route Map for the missing delivery. The Trade Route will most likely be in the region you started the voyage.
You will first want to look at the two most important pieces of information on the Trade Route Map, the origin island and the destination island. You can find them both labeled on the bottom of the Trade Route Map.
Once you know where your origin island is, sail on over to begin your investigation. If you start the voyage at an Outpost, you could get lucky and already be at the origin island. Once in position at the origin island, face your ship in the direction that the Trade Route travels towards the destination island.
From the origin island, you will want to follow the ship’s plotted course towards its destination while keeping an eye on the horizon for Clues about the lost ship’s travels.
It is possible to discover the shipwreck without finding the Clues scattered along the path. Though, you will miss out on tons of Merchant Alliance treasure and the Captain’s Key. The final Clue will also help you triangulate the location of the shipwreck.
Time to find those clues!
How to find the lost Shipwreck
During the voyage, you have the option of finding Clues to help you and your crew locate the lost shipwreck. Not only will you find extra Merchant Alliance treasure along the way but a Captain’s Key! This key can be used on the shipwreck and will allow you access to a massive pile of Merchant Alliance treasure.
The Clues you gather along the voyage will be log entries from the lost crew’s journal. You will be following along the crew’s journey as they log their travels.
The number of Clues in a voyage is variable based on the Merchant Alliance’s voyage rank. As you discover Clues, your Trade Route Map will track them by showing a marker on their found location.
The Clues should roughly trace the route displayed on the Trade Route Map. If you find yourself nowhere near the Trade Route or any of the islands shown on the Trade Route Map, you have strayed too far away.
Each Clue you pick up will direct you to the next Clue until you pick up the final Clue.
How to find your first Clue
The first Clue to discover will always be found inside a Merchant Barrel floating in the sea. You will find the Merchant Barrel along with other floating debris, Resource Barrels and Merchant Alliance crates in the water underneath a large circle of seagulls.
You should be able to see the flock of seagulls from the origin island as you scan the horizon with your spyglass if you are facing the correct direction.
From the origin island, sail towards the flock of seagulls or sail along the trade route until you find the flock of seagulls floating above the Clue site. The flock of seagulls should be found in the first fourth of the trade route. If you are further along the path, you have probably passed the first Clue site.
Once you are at the Clue site, jump in the water and inspect the debris. Look for a Resource Barrel with blue stripes on it. This new kind of Resource Barrel is the Merchant Barrel you are looking for. Inside it will be your first Clue which is a Curious Note.
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for that Captain’s Key floating in the water at the Clue site. It will glint blue from a distance and not yellow like other treasure. The Captain’s Key can spawn at any of the Clue sites, even the first one! If you don’t find it at the first Clue site, keep it in mind as you search the following ones.
Use your spyglass
We found using our spyglass to locate the seagulls to be of great help! We found it especially helpful for the Sea Clues later one where the flock of seagulls is much smaller!
How to find your next Clue
With your first Clue in hand, read it to discover the next location you should sail to. There are a handful of different types of Clues you can encounter during this voyage.
If the Clue is a Log Entry that mentions an island, sail to that island. This Clue is an Island Clue.
If the Clue is a Log Entry that mentions map coordinates, sail to those coordinates. This Clue is a Sea Clue.
If the Clue is a Log Entry that mentions a pirate’s name and an island, sail to that island and find the NPC who resides there. This Clue is an Island Resident Clue.
If the Clue is a map of a circled island, sail on over to that island. This Clue is a Circle Map Clue.
If the Clue mentions neither an island nor coordinates, that means there are no more clues to be found, and you should sail towards the destination island until you run into the shipwreck. You have discovered the Final Clue.
If your Clue mentions an island by name, sail over to that island to look for your next Clue.
Once on the island, you will want to walk along the island’s beaches looking for a Clue in a Bottle. The Clue in a Bottle will glint a light blue from a distance instead of the usual yellow. You will also find The Clue in the Bottle surrounded by Merchant Alliance crates and wooden debris making it easier to spot on the beach.
You shouldn’t need to head inland to find the Clue in the Bottle.
Once you find the Clue in the Bottle, pick it up, and you’ll be on your next step. You will also be ambushed by a group of skeletons when picking up the Clue so prepare for battle!
If your Clue mentions coordinates, sail on over to those coordinates to look for your next Clue.
The Clue will be floating in the sea underneath a small flock of seagulls and next to Merchant Alliance loot and wooden debris. It will be somewhere inside the coordinates given in the Clue.
Again, use that spyglass! You will be surprised how much it helps track down those seagulls flying above your next Clue. If you are struggling to find the small flock of seagulls and the floating debris in the coordinates, go up to your crow’s nest and scan the horizon with your spyglass.
Island Resident Clues
If your Clue mentions a pirate’s name and the island they are residing on, sail to the island mentioned. Once on the island, you will want to track down the NPC living there. Sometimes the island can be a Seapost making it easy to find the NPC.
Once you find the NPC, talk to them. Choose the first dialogue option available to acquire the next Clue from them. They will give you the Clue after you are done speaking to them.
Circle Map Clues
If your Clue is a map of an island with part of it circled, sail to the island depicted on the map. Once on the island, you will want to head over to the circled area.
Comb the beaches of the circled part of the island looking for a blue Clue in a Bottle. Once you find it, pick up the Clue in the Bottle to continue on to your next step.
The Final Clue will not mention an island or coordinates. Instead, the log entry will have texting containing phrases such as “near the end” or “no more distractions.” From the location you found the Final Clue, you will want to sail towards the destination island.
Along the path, you will find the shipwreck. The shipwreck will have a small flock of seagulls above it, not the usual large amount of seagulls you might expect from emergent shipwrecks.
You’ll also know you are at the right shipwreck because you’ll get a new music queue for the voyage when you dive down.
How to find the Captain’s Key
You can find the Captain’s Key for the shipwreck at any one of the Clue sites along the Trade Route. The Captain’s Key is guaranteed to randomly spawn at one of the Clue sites.
The Captain’s Key will have a blue glint when seen from a distance similar to the Clues in a Bottle. The blue glint will help you spot the key amongst the floating debris or on the beach at the Clue site.
It is possible to find the Captain’s Key at the first Clue site near the Merchant Barrel. Once you find the Captain’s Key, you can skip the rest of the clues and look for the shipwreck in the latter half of the Trade Route. However, it still might be useful to continue to find the Clues to help you narrow down the shipwreck location.
If the Captain’s Key is not in the floating debris with the first Clue, scour each Clue site for it. The Captain’s Key will be near the Clue in a Bottle or NPC, but it can be hidden from plain sight. We once found a Captain’s Key underneath the water on the beach of an Island Clue.
It also sometimes helps to dive beneath the water and look up at the floating debris for the Captain’s Key’s blue glint.
How much is the Captain’s Key worth?
You can sell the Captain’s Key for 2500 gold to the Merchant Alliance or to the Reaper’s Bones. If possible, you will want to try and use the Captain’s Key on the shipwreck instead. The loot kept inside the Captain’s Cabin is worth much more than the single Captain’s Key!
How to find the Merchant’s Manifest
The Merchant’s Manifest will be on the lost shipwreck located in the latter half of the Trade Route. You can find the shipwreck by following the Clues or sailing along the Trade Route, searching for the small flock of seagulls marking the shipwreck’s location.
Once you spot the small flock of seagulls above the shipwreck, dive down to it. You will find Merchant’s Manifest in the hands of an ill-fated captain somewhere on the shipwreck.
The skeleton holding the Merchant’s Manifest can be anywhere on the shipwreck. Be sure to check behind the Captain’s Cabin, in the crow’s nest, on the deck, and in the shipwreck’s hull.
Picking up the Merchant’s Manifest will complete the voyage! You can sell the Merchant’s Manifest for gold and progress towards the Manifestation commendation.
If you have the Captain’s Key, don’t forget to use it on the shipwreck’s Captain’s Cabin and grab the loot stored within it.
How much is the Merchant’s Manifest worth?
Depending on the voyage rank, you can sell the Merchant’s Manifest for 1600 to 4000 gold.
How to get the Merchant Pathfinder Sail
To unlock the Merchant Pathfinder Sail, you will need to sell 20 Merchant’s Manifests to the Merchant Alliance. This will require you and your crew to successfully complete the Lost Shipments voyage at least 20 times and sell the Merchant’s Manifest to the Merchant Alliance. Merely finding the manifest will not count towards the achievement or unlocking these sails.
How to get the Golden Gatherer Merchant Sail
To unlock the Golden Gatherer Merchant Sail, you will need to open 50 Captain’s Cabins with the Captain’s Key. While completing the Lost Shipments voyage and turning in the Merchant’s Manifest is one thing, it is another to find the Captain’s Key and use it on the shipwreck.
As we mentioned above, you will want to follow the Clues left behind until you find the Captain’s Key at one of the Clue sites. With the Captain’s Key in hand, use it to unlock the shipwreck’s Captain’s Cabin.
Manifestation – Bring recovered Ship Manifests to the Merchant Alliance
Manifest Density – Find Ship Manifests
Cabin Fever – Open Captain’s cabins using a Captain’s Key
Merchant of Manifests Title – Complete the “Manifestation” Commendation (0/20)
Merchant of Mysteries Title – Complete the “Cabin Fever” Commendation (0/50)
We found the shipwreck and had the key to the cabin. The door kept saying ‘key required’ and we couldn’t do anything with the dead guy on the ship so also no manifest. The entire quest seems to be bugged. 🙁
Ahoy there! Sorry to hear your voyage didn’t end very well 🙁 We have heard of other pirates running into the same problem. It’s not every time though! Next time you sail the sea give it another go! Hopefully your next run through is smoother. Unfortunately, we don’t know of anything that would fix your in-progress voyage. We don’t think there is anything you can do if the door doesn’t unlock with the key and the manifest is missing.
We found our wreck but nowhere to enter as the shipwreck and the birds were clipped into a rock.
Oh no! That is no good 🙁 We have heard a few reports from other pirates of that happening. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do and you’ll want to run through the voyage again to get another chance at completing it. Good luck!
The merchant pathfinder sails apparently cost 49k doubloons ……I have been playing 3 years and only have 20k I finished the 20 manifests I dont know if this is a glitch or what but I cant afford 49k doubloons
It is a little bug that is being looked into. It should be gold. We wouldn’t be able to pay for it in doubloons either!
Yeah we’ve done several so far and all the others were fine. I guess it’s stil new so bugs are normal. I really like the new quests. It just sucked that our first try was instantly a failure. 😂
Something to note, sometimes multiple clues will spawn in the same area. Got a clue that led us to E9, and ran into the ship first. We ran around like chickens with our heads cut off because we hadn’t gotten the key yet. Looked around and there were 2 addition spots in E9 with birds flying around them. If the last clue you got leads to a destination and you find the ship there, it means there are more clues in the area. The clue that’s supposed to be the last one won’t have a destination listed, it’ll be open ended.
One merchant voyage that starts at Ancient Spire and ends at Finest Trading Seapost (final clue at Chicken Isle) is bugged as twice the ship is nowhere to be found, unless anyone can help with this one!
Just done a merchant voyage and when we unlocked the captains door there was nothing inside, very frustrating not to get any reward!!
Oh no! That is unfortunate 🙁 We are sorry to hear that. We haven’t run into that issue ourselves, but have heard of a few other pirates experiencing that bug. Hopefully your next voyage is much more rewarding! Good luck pirate 🙂
Ive had an issue today, we found the key, and got to the sunken ship. Its lower deck was engluffed in md and sand and unaccesible. There were no merchant with the manifest. I think he might have spawned on the lower deck but we couldnt get to him …. I took a stream if you wish to see https://www.twitch.tv/videos/897565831
The Merchant would have been on the wheel
Absolutely love the addition to the game since it makes merchants more fun then sailing from one shop the next with no real interaction and no real benefit or browsing islands for animals and supplies. This update made me and a friend queue up 7 back to back coming back with around 165 chests. However half way through we found one of our ships was already looted by someone else. No manifest on the body at the steering wheel, no crates in the room that was already opened, and only 2 gunpowder barrels found. I don’t know how it happened but it was looted when we got there. We even tried the key on our other boats and it didn’t open them so we are really stumped on how it happened but at least you made the keys worth something. So we just ended up ditching that quest and moving on. And yes we checked and it was our ship title and everything.
They are real bugmakers
Anyway there is a list of all the different routes I really want the Xbox achievement but I’ve already gotten my 50 cabin opens and don’t want to have to do more than I need to
Is there a way to be able get the possible routes without it seemingly random?
There doesn’t seem to be a 100% way to get the route you want. The best you can do is start the voyage near the starting location you want and cross your fingers!
Just finished a lost shipment quest. 7 clues, found no key. Final clue says head to the destination, found no ship or manifest. It’s been on average 1 out of every three 3 shipments is a dud in some way. Most frustrating.
Same here last night, feels less worse to not be alone in this.
How they fix this from happening
After my clues I had missed the key somewhere so I was going to back track. I was very close to what I figured was the ship’s location so before retracing my steps I was going to sail over, dive and mark the spot on my map. When I arrived I found one blue speck floating under the massive amount of birds, which usually indicates the ship’s location.
The speck was not the key as I had hoped, but rather the ship’s manifest. No ship. Glitch? Or is it possible someone else got to it?
Yeah, sometimes the shipwreck can despawn under certain circumstances, but will leave the Manifest floating in the water for your crew to find. As for the Captain’s Key, sometimes it can spawn into geometry or high up in a tree where you wouldn’t think to look. You might have had an unlucky key spawn if you couldn’t find it at any of the Clue sites.
This reads like you guys found a different merchant ship by accident!