South West Alaska Shipwrecks ( U-V-W )

UMNAK NATIVE (1933)     The 49 ton 59 foot wooden oil screw Umnak Native stranded and was lost on Umnak Island the evening of Tuesday January 24, 1933.  The vessel departed Unalaska January 19, 1933 bound for Atka.  There were 10 passengers and 5 crewmen aboard.  All 10 passengers and the master of the vessel perished in the disaster.  The following are excerpts from the casualty report:

                “Strong gale, boat stranded at 7 0’clock p.m.”  “Inanudak Bay, Umnak Island”  “Engine failed and anchor chain parted”

                The Umnak Native was a total loss.  Lost with her were John Stankus, Olga Stankus, Vern Shasibnikoff, Andrew M Nelson, Mike P Tutiakoff, John Galaktianoff, Stephan Krukof, Stephan Bezezekof, Matfey Pobvorof, Andrebik S Krukof, and George A Krukof.  The Umnak Native was also carrying $3,815 worth of furs and general merchandise.  The vessel had a value of $12,000 which was a total loss along with her cargo.  The vessel was not insured but the cargo was fully insured.  Eleven lives were lost.

                Mapping and Location : Southwest Alaska  53 18 N 168 25 W  Chart 16011

                Additional Information : Tonnage : 49 Gross 33 Net, Length 59.2, Breadth 16.5, Depth 7.8, Built 1929 at Seattle WA, HP 75, Registered Juneau, ON 228207, Master John Stankus of Unalaska, Owner Umnak Native Community of Umnak

                Sources : 1. U S C G Report of Casualty May 20, 1933 at Unalaska by Larry Stepetin, Seaman, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1932) Pgs 556-7

 

UNKNOWN JAPANESE JUNK AND UNKNOWN RUSSIAN VESSEL (1784)     The following is an excerpt from a letter written February 26, 1791 to Count Aleksandr R Vorontsov by Kyrill Laksman detailing the plight of Japanese castaways rescued in the Aleutians by Russian Promyshlenniks:

                “On December 13, 1783, seventeen Japanese men sailed out from the town of Shiroko to trade in the capitol city of Yedo.  At the halfway point of their voyage they, like many similar vessels, stopped to spend the night in Semioda Bay.  During a violent windstorm another vessel hit them and broke off their rudder.  Without the rudder they had to cut the mast, and thus they drifted at the mercy of the waves for more than seven months, drifting in various directions.  At last on July 20, 1784 they came to the Aleutian Island of Amisachka where they dropped anchor and went ashore in a small boat.  They found seven Aleut men there who were hunting wild geese.  The Aleuts invited the five Japanese into their earthen iurts and gave them cooked goose and fish to eat.  Toward evening Russian promyshlenniks came to the island from a vessel which had been wrecked on the island, a vessel which belonged to the Totma merchant, Khodilov.  The Russians went to the Japanese vessel and spent the night in a cabin on shore, but during the night there was a storm at sea and the anchor broke away on some sharp rocks underwater.  The ship was cast adrift and then was wrecked on the coast.  Thus, deprived of their last hope, the men had to remain on that island for three years and a month, during which time the Russian promyshlenniks used planks from their wrecked vessel, and the remains of the Japanese vessel, which had been built of redwood and camphor, to build a new vessel.  In September of 1787 they took the remaining nine Japanese men with them to Nizhnekamchatsk ostrog.  Seven of the Japanese had died while they were on the Aleutian Island, and an eighth was killed during a storm at sea”

                There are multiple historic references to a wrecked Japanese junk in the Rat Islands of the Aleutians in the early 1780’s.  All attribute the presence of rats and the name of the islands to the wreck.

                Mapping and Location : Southwest Alaska  51 48 N 178 19 E  Chart 16011

                Comment : I have taken the liberty of charting this wreck at Rat Island.  The original landing was likely at Amchitka Island.  WG

                Source : Russian Penetration of the North Pacific Ocean 1700-1797 (1988) Pg 401-412

 

UNKNOWN BRITISH VESSEL (1847)     A large unknown British vessel was wrecked on the southwest coast of Saint Paul Island in 1847 as it was coming in to anchor off Zapadni Point.  The name English Bay derives from this wreck.

                Mapping and Location :  Southwest Alaska  57 08 30 N 170 18 30 W  Chart 16382

                Source : Dictionary of Alaska Place Names (1967) English Bay Pg 315

 

UNKNOWN JUNK (1851)     An unknown Japanese junk was lost on Atka Island in 1851.  Only three of those aboard survived the wreck.

                Mapping and Location : Southwest Alaska  52 07 N 174 30 W  Chart 16012

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

UNKNOWN JAPANESE VESSEL (1862)     In September of 1862 and unknown Japanese vessel, possibly a junk, wrecked at Attu Island.  Of the 12 crewmen, 9 were lost in the disaster.

                Mapping and Location : Southwest Alaska  52 55 N 172 55 E  Chart 16012

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

UNKNOWN JUNK (1869)     An unknown junk washed up on Adak Island in April of 1869.

                Mapping and Location : Southwest Alaska  51 45 N 176 45 W  Chart 16012

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

UNKNOWN JUNK (1871)     An unknown junk wrecked at Attu Island in 1871.

                Mapping and Location : Southwest Alaska  52 55 N 172 55 E  Chart 16012

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

UNKNOWN JAPANESE VESSEL (1872)     An unknown Japanese vessel wrecked at Adak in 1872.

Mapping and Location : Southwest Alaska  51 45 N 176 45 W  Chart 16012

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

UNKNOWN JAPANESE SEALER (1909)     An unknown Japanese seal hunting vessel was lost in 1909 in the Pribilof Islands.

                Mapping and Location : Southwest Alaska  57 N 170 W  Chart 16011

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

WAKAMIYA MARU (1794)     The Japanese vessel Wakamiya Maru out of Sendai, Japan, was broken up by waves while at anchor in Unalga Pass, Biorka Island in 1794.  15 survivors of the wreck were brought to Unalaska and then taken to Okhotsk by Russians.

                Mapping and Location : Southwest Alaska  53 58 N 166 14 W  Chart 16011

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

 

WANICK (1919)     The 18 ton 49 foot gas screw towing vessel Wanick stranded and was lost at Lost Harbor August 10, 1919.  There was no loss of life.

                Mapping and Location : Southwest Alaska  54 13 45 N 165 36 30 W  Chart 16520

                Comment : Lost Harbor was the site of a sulphur mine in the 1920’s.  WG

                Additional Information : Tonnage 18 Gross 12 Net, Length 48.9, Breadth 11.9, Depth 5.2,  HP 45, Built 1914 at Burton WA, Registered Seattle, ON 212076

                Sources : 1. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1922) Vessels Reported Lost Pg 453, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1919) Pg 340, 3. Dictionary of Alaska Place Names (1971) Pg 597 Lost Harbor

 

WEBSTER (1890)     The vessel Webster was lost at Atka Island in 1890.

                Mapping and Location : Southwest Alaska  52 07 N 174 30 W  Chart 16012

                Source : Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore 1992

 

WESTPORT (1936)     The 116 ton 88 foot whaling steamer Westport ran aground at Akutan Island and was lost at 8:45 p.m. Monday September 14, 1936.  The vessel departed Akutan September 13, 1936 bound for the whaling grounds in the Bering Sea with 12 officers and crewmen aboard.  The following are excerpts from the casualty report:

                “Fresh easterly wind, mist, heavy sea and gale blowing, night was coming on”  “Gunner was with Captain on Bridge as a lookout”  “Vessel ran aground reef”  “Reef Bight, Akutan Island, Alaska”  “Coast Guard cutter Daphne picked up crew and brought them to Akutan Whaling Station.  Coast Guard Cutter Chelan brought crew to Seattle”  “Total loss”

                The Westport had a value of $59,000 and was a total loss.  The Westport was insured for $25,000.  There was no cargo aboard.  There was no loss of life.

                Mapping and Location : Southwest Alaska  54 07 45 N 166 06 W  Chart 16520

                Additional Information : Tonnage 116 Gross 59 Net, Length 88, Breadth 19, Depth 11.5, Built 1912 at Seattle WA, IHP 350, Registered Seattle, ON 209877, Master Captain N Schroeder of Seattle, Owner American Pacific Whaling Company of Bellevue WA

                Sources : 1. U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty October 13, 1936 at Seattle by Johanna B Olson, Accountant for American Pacific Whaling Company, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1936) Pgs 174-5

 

 

2 Responses to South West Alaska Shipwrecks ( U-V-W )

  1. Don Benson says:

    I am looking for information on the whaling ship Westport and her sinking along with her crew list. I am also looking for any information on the company after 1934.

    Thank you,

    Don Benson

    • captaingood says:

      The most complete accounting of the activities of the Westport and the American Pacific Whaling Company can be found in the William S Lagen Papers 1894-2002. The collection can be found at the University of Washington Library in Seattle. It is Collection #2292. William S Lagen was a Bellevue Washington businessman and the collection of his papers includes detailed information on Consolidated Whaling, North Pacific Sea Products and American Pacific Sea Products. The activities of the Westport and her activities out of the company whaling station in Akutan are included. There were several steamers named Westport during that time period including a 124 foot wooden Westport (built 1888-ON 81188) out of San Francisco, a 125.6 foot wooden Westport (built 1911-ON 208731) out of Boston. The Westport lost off of Akutan was an 88 foot steel steamer (built 1912-ON 209877). She was fitted for burning oil which the others weren’t.

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