South Central Alaska Shipwrecks ( O )

ODIAK (1907)     The gas launch Odiak was wrecked at Bear Cape in Prince William Sound in 1907.  The vessel was valued at $3,000 with cargo at the time of the loss.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  60 12 N 146 43 W  Chart 16700

                Sources : 1. Marine Disasters of the Alaska Route (1916) List of Wrecks in Alaskan Waters From Records of Customs Office, Juneau Pg 33, 2. Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)


OLAF (1924)     The 21 ton wooden salmon fishing vessel Olaf foundered in Cook Inlet at 9:15 p.m. Saturday July 12, 1924.  The following are excerpts from the casualty report:

                “Five miles N. Kenai River”  “Wind southwest 20 miles; daylight; rough sea”  “Vessel turned with the wind”  “Vessel sprung a leak”  “The vessel foundered on Cooks Inlet laden with fresh salmon bound from fish trap to the Kenai Cannery at appr. Lat. 60.37 N Long 151.23 W.  Vessel suddenly filled with water.”

                The three crewmen aboard made it to safety, but the Olaf, valued at $2,800, was a total loss.  Her cargo of salmon was also lost.  She was carrying approximately 35,000 pounds of fresh salmon worth $803.07.  There was no insurance on the Olaf or her cargo.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  60 37 N 151 23 W  Chart 16662

                Additional Information : Tonnage 21 Gross 14 Net, Built 1912, Registered Seattle, ON 210039, Master J A Rasmussen of Seattle, Owner Libby McNeill & Libby of Seattle, Last Port Salamato Trap July 12th, Destination Kenai

                Source : U S C G Report of Casualty August 26, 1924 at Seattle by C H Bowen of LM&L


OLGA (1908)     The 20 ton 47 foot wooden schooner Olga stranded and was lost in Prince William Sound at 5:00 a.m. September 18, 1908.  The vessel had been moored to the wrecked steamer Saratoga with no one aboard.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report:

                “Second point from Point Freemantle”  “Stormy, southeast wind, and heavy sea running”  “Vessel was under charter by wrecking crew trying to salve steamer Saratoga, when she parted her moorings and went adrift”  “Carried away her moorings alongside steamer Saratoga, and drifted to point where schooner stranded”  “Carelessness of parties in charge.  Report made that no measure was taken to avoid casualty” 

                The steamer Saratoga was wrecked March 20, 1908 at Busby Island, just northwest of Bligh Island in the Valdez Arm of Prince William Sound.  The Olga was valued at $500 at the time of the tragedy and had no insurance.  She had been leased by a salvage company for salvaging the steamer Saratoga.  The strong southeasterly wind blew the Olga across Valdez Arm to the west side above Point Freemantle.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  60 57 N 146 58 W  Charts 16700, 16707

                Comment: The 2,820 ton Saratoga wrecked near Bligh Reef where the Exxon Valdez ran aground in 1989.    See Saratoga (1908).  This is also the reef where the 2827 ton Olympia wrecked in 1910.  See Olympia (1910).  WG

                Additional Information : Tonnage 19.9 Net, Built 1883 at Kodiak, Length 47, Breadth 14.8, Depth 5, Registered Valdez, ON 155084, Master and Owner Charles Swanson of Allamar

                Source : U S Customs Wreck Report October 19, 1908 by Charles Swanson


OLIVE (1924)     The 59 ton wooden auxiliary schooner Olive stranded in Portage Bay at 1:00 p.m. July 18, 1924.  There were four crewmen aboard.  The vessel departed Kodiak for Kanatak July 15, 1924.  She had discharged her cargo before the casualty occurred.  The following are excerpts from the report filed by the master and owner of the Olive:

                “North east corner Portage Bay”  “Heavy weather, carrying away of ground tackle”  “About 80 mile gale, thick weather and heavy sea”  “Blew ashore”  “When gale came up both anchors were put down and 65 fm chain given.  Both anchors carried away on parting cable whereupon steamed ahead seeking shelter but unable to make steerage account severity of gale.  Lost control and vessel stranded”

                The Olive, valued at $15,000 was reported a total loss.  The crewmen all survived and the Olive was subsequently salvaged.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  57 34 05 N 156 02 15 W  Chart 16013

                Comment : The Olive casualty of 1924 is included in this compilation even though the vessel was salvaged.  Evidence of the loss may still be on site (ground tackle etc.) and of interest.  WG

                Additional Information : Tonnage 59 Gross 51 Net, Built 1921, Registered Seattle, ON 221334, Master and Owner Axel Olsen of Matanuska, Vessel Insurance $6,000

                Source : U S C G Report of Casualty August 4, 1924 by Axel Olsen


OLIVE (1932)     The 59 ton wooden gas powered schooner Olive caught fire at winter quarters at midnight June 17, 1932 and was a total loss.  The following are excerpts from the casualty report:

                “N. E. wind about 35 m.p.h.; dark with heavy clouds and rain”  “Caught fire while being beached in the lagoon between Near Island and Crooked Island (near Kodiak, Alaska), apparently from a backfire from the engine”  “The vessel was being turned on the beach at high tide for the purpose of painting.  One side had been painted and it was necessary to turn her to get at the other side.  There was apparently an accumulation of gas in the bilge which exploded when the back-fire occurred.  A heavy explosion immediately followed a back-fire from the running engine, enveloping the vessel in flames, making the possibility of extinguishing out of the question.  Immediately the vessel was a roaring furnace that made it impossible to attempt to fight fire aboard, as the master and one man were forced to abandon her.  The fuel tanks exploded shortly after the crew had left”  “A boat and crew came from Kodiak to assist but arrived too late to help”  “Total loss”

                The two crewmen aboard were able to make it to safety but the Olive, valued at $15,000 was a total loss.  She was insured for $10,000.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  57 47 N 152 24 W  Chart 16595

                Comment : Same vessel as wrecked at Kanatak in 1924.  WG

                Additional Information : Tonnage 59 Gross 51 Net, Built 1921, Registered Seward, ON 221334, Master and Owner J A Johnson of Kodiak, Last Port at Winter Quarters since September 1931

                Source : U S C G Report of Casualty June 25, 1932 by J A Johnson at Seward


OLYMPIA (1910)     The 2,827 ton 335 foot iron steam ship Olympia stranded and was lost in Prince William Sound at 11:50 p.m. Saturday December 10, 1910.  The vessel departed Cordova at 6:32 p.m. that evening bound for Valdez.  She had 56 passengers and 60 crewmen aboard.  She was also carrying a 350 ton cargo of coal and general merchandise valued at $2,000.  Most of the Olympia’s cargo had been discharged at Cordova, with the remainder stowed in her bow.  This “bow heavy” condition made steerage difficult, and coupled with the 50 mile northerly gale, contributed to her demise.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report filed by her owners;

                “Northerly gale; partly cloudy”  “Struck reef off west shore Bligh Island, Prince William Sound, Alaska”  “Stranded”  “In dangerous locality when struck by strong gale; attempted to turn around and ran on reef”  “Distress signal sent out by wireless picked up by naval station at Cordova and tugs dispatched from Valdez and Fort Liscum.  Took off passengers and crew.”  “Total Loss”

                The Olympia was built in Glasgow, Scotland in 1883 as the Dunbar Castle.  She was purchased by the Alaska Steamship Company in 1904 and renamed Olympia.  At the time of the disaster she was valued at $165,000.  The Olympia and her cargo were both total losses.  She was insured for $157,000. Her bottom was badly torn and salvage was not attempted.  She sat visible and upright on the rocks as a local landmark until February of 1922.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  50 30 N 146 52 30 W  Chart 16708

                Additional Information : Tonnage 2,827 Gross 1,730 Net, Length 335, Breadth 38.2, Depth 19.5, NHP 2,000, Built 1883, Registered Port Townsend WA, ON 155339, Master Jim Daniels of Seattle, Owner Alaska Steamship Company of Seattle

                Sources : 1. U S Customs Wreck Report  January 13, 1911 at Seattle by R R Pierson, Supt.  Alaska Steamship Company, 2. Alaska Steam (1984) Pgs 46&49


ONIEDA (1890)     The 1,074 ton 179 foot wooden ship Onieda stranded and was lost near Sanak at 9:00 p.m. Saturday April 26, 1890.  77 Chinamen perished in the disaster.  The vessel departed San Francisco with 28 crewmen and 127 passengers bound for Thin Point.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report filed by F P Anderson, master of the Onieda:

                “Light wind, foggy, rough sea, dark and foggy”  “Uncertain currents, foggy weather”  “Hamings Rock 10 miles SW of Sanak Alaska”  “Stranding”  “No sail set, vessel hove to, waiting fair weather”  “Total loss”

                The vessel was carrying 550 tons of merchandise and provisions worth $50,000.  The Onieda, valued at $15,000 and her cargo were total losses.  The vessel was insured for $42,000 and her cargo for $15,000. 

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  54 28 20 N 162 55 40 N  Chart 16520

                Comment : I have charted this wreck at Onieda Rock (SSE of Hennig Rock) named so by Ferdinand Wesdahl, commander of the USC&GS steamer McArthur, who did surveys of the area in 1901

                Additional Information : Tonnage 1130 Gross 1074.26 Net, Length 179, Breadth 36.5, Depth 23, Built 1856 Searsport ME, Registered San Francisco, ON 18864, Owner Lea Cross of San Francisco

                Source : U S Customs Wreck Report June 3, 1890 at San Francisco


OREGON (1906)     The 283 foot 2,335 ton iron steamship Oregon stranded and was lost off Cape Hinchinbrook at 11:10 p.m. Thursday September 13, 1906.  The vessel departed Catella that day bound for Orca.  There were 53 passengers and 68 crew aboard, with H E Soule of Seattle as master.  The Oregon was burdened with a 790 ton cargo of general merchandise valued at $25,000.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report:

                “3 miles NE X N X N ¾ N of Cape Hinchinbrook, Alaska (Long. 147degrees)”  “Current and thick weather”  “Moderate wind, dark, overcast and rain squalls, dark night”  “Stranding”  “U S S Columbine picked up 5 boat loads of passengers and crew and proceeded wreck and took off balance of crew, also all letter mail and express, registered mail, also all baggage.  Sea running too high to further communicate with wreck.”  “Total loss ($175,000)”

                The survivors were transported to Valdez by the lighthouse tender Columbine.  The Oregon, valued at $150,000 and was a total loss along with her cargo.  The master was exonerated from all blame.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  60 14 N 146 39 W  Chart 16700

                Additional Information : Tonnage 2,335 Gross 1,642 Net, Length 283, Breadth 37.4, Depth 23.4, Built 1878 at Chester PA, IHP 1,700, Registered Port Townsend WA, ON 19485, Owner Northwestern Steamship Co of Nevada, Vessel and Cargo Insurance unknown

                Source : U S Customs Wreck Report September 15, 1906 at Valdez by H E Soule


OREGONIAN (1931)     The 45 ton wooden gas screw fishing vessel Oregonian foundered in Kvichak Bay at 5:00 a.m. Sunday July 12, 1931.  The vessel had departed Ketchikan April 7, 1931 bound for Dillingham with a crew of four.  The Oregonian had 39 tons of fresh red salmon aboard, worth $1,500 at the time of the disaster.  The following are statements from the casualty report:

                “Ten miles west Middle Bluff Light in Kvichak Bay, Alaska”  “Southwest wind about 40 miles, heavy sea running, morning dawn”  “…believed to have sprung open, in very heavy weather”  “Vessel began filling with water and all hands manning pumps until no longer chance to save vessel”  “(assistance rendered by) gas boat Pigeon, our vessel”

                The crew of the Oregonian made it to safety, but the vessel and her cargo were lost.  The Oregonian was valued at $7,000 and was insured for $6,000.  Her cargo was not insured.  The Oregonian was owned by Associated Fishermen of Alaska

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska 58 24 20 N 157 31 15 W  Chart 16523

                Additional Information : Tonnage 45.02 Gross 30 Net, Built 1917, Registered Ketchikan, ON 215,000, Master Martin Olsen of Seattle

                Source : U S C G Report of Casualty August 27, 1931 by Att. Bradford, President, Associated Fishermen of Alaska


OSO (1936)     The 8 ton wooden gas screw Oso sank off Lituya Bay at 8:00 a.m. Saturday July 18th, 1936.  The vessel departed Sitka June 28th with two crewmen aboard bound for salmon trolling.  They had 10,000 pounds of fresh King Salmon in the hold when the disaster occurred.  The following are statements taken from the casualty report filed by Peder Liadal, master of the OSO:

                “No wind, smooth, long slow waves, foggy but calm”  “Vessel foundered off Lituya Bay,
Alaska, south about a half mile off Harbor Point, Alaska”  “Unforeseen tide rip flooded vessel, filling small trolling hatch in after part of cock pit, water rushed forward killed ignition and engine stopped, vessel went down by the stern and sank in about twenty minutes”  “Unable to do anything, as machine stopped vessel sank, with past the pilot house within a minutes time”  “Gas Screw Mine, whereof Nick Larsen, master and owner, picked us up about a half hour after disaster.  Brought us to Chichagof, Alaska”  “Total loss”

     The crewmen of the Oso made it to safety, but the vessel, worth $3,500 and her cargo, worth $800 were both total losses.  The master of the vessel knew of no insurance at the time the wreck report was filed.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  58 36 45 N 137 39 20 W  Chart 16760

                Additional Information : Tonnage 8 Gross 5 Net, Age 5 years, Registered Ketchikan, ON 230761, Owner Alice E Schiller of Seattle

                Source : U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty July 23, 1936 at Sitka by Peder Liadal


OUNIMAK (1887)     The 35 ton 62 foot wooden schooner Ounimak was lost with all hands off Sanak Island the night of Wednesday March 30, 1887.  The vessel departed “Belkoffsky”(Belkofski) that day bound for “Pauloff Harbor, Saanak Island” (Pavlof Harbor, Sanak) with six crewmen aboard.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report:

                “Between Bellkoffsky and Pauloff Harbor, Alaska”  “Capsized probably”  “Heavy gale, not sufficient cargo”  “Dark stormy night with snow”  “Vessel left Bellkoffsky in a strong wind, contrary to advice of all on shore.  Was probably capsized during the night, as she was found bottom up on a reef off Pauloff Harbor the next morning with no one near her.  Crew no doubt drowned.”

                Lost from the Ounimak were her captain, Thomas Trondson, and crewmen Henry Traiton, August Olsen, Otto Osborn, Mathew Hermanson and Stein Nelson.  The vessel and her cargo were total losses.  The Ounimak was valued at $4,000 and her 6 ton cargo of groceries, provisions and furs at $600.  There was no insurance.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  54 27 40 N 162 41 30 W  Chart 16547

                Additional Information : Tonnage 34.67 Gross 32.94 Net, Length 61.5, Breadth 19.5, Depth 6.0, Built 1884 at San Francisco, Registered San Francisco, ON 155091, Master Thomas Trondson of San Francisco, Owner The McCollam Fishing & Trading Co of San Francisco

                Source : U S Custom Wreck Report May 23, 1887 at San Francisco by Gasheira, Manager MCCollam Fishing & Trading Company


OUTLINE (1920)     The vessel Outline was lost in 1920 in Cook Inlet.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  59 05 N 152 30 W

                Source : The H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1966) Pg 313


OWL (1930)     The 14 ton wooden gas screw fishing vessel Owl was lost in Wide Bay at 7:00 p.m. Monday September 15, 1930.  The vessel departed Kukak Bay September 12 on her way to the fishing banks with three crewmen aboard.  The following are statements from the casualty report:

                “Wide Bay, Alaska”  “Approximately 30 mile wind.  Weather fair, with heavy south east swell, casualty happened at evening twilight”  “Foundered on reef…Due to clutch on engine breaking”  “Put two anchors out, working to keep vessel off of reef, tried to repair clutch”  “After grounding, engineer did all possible to repair clutch with aid of deckhand, when discovered the repairs could not be made in time or at sea, all of the crew turned to keeping the vessel off the reef”  “total loss”

                The crew escaped to safety, but the Owl, valued at $3,000 and her ten ton cargo of fish, valued at $315 were both lost.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska  57 22 N 156 11 W  Chart 16568

                Additional Information : Tonnage 14 Gross 10 Net, Age 20 Years, Registered Seward, ON 207151, Master Tom Parker of Anchorage, Owner Hemrich Packing Company of Seattle WA, Insurance unknown

                Source : U S C G Report of Casualty September 18, 1930 at Seward by Tom Parker



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