South East Alaska Shipwrecks ( I )

IBIS (1935)     The 16 ton wooden oil screw Ibis foundered a half mile east of Aats Point at 10 a.m. October 22, 1935.  The following are excerpts from the report of casualty filed by master and owner Dave Harrison of Ketchikan who was the sole occupant of the Ibis:

                “75 mile, SE Gale, choppy sea.”    “Unable to do anything, vessel capsized, wind held her down.”  “Wm. Mueller, Am. Ol. S Venus put line aboard which was fastened to main rigging and attempted to tow vessel to safe harbor but had to cut line, Harrison was able to get aboard Venus by aid of line.”  “Was running for Egg Harbor for shelter when boat capsized.  Vessel located in 17 fathoms water but on account of heavy seas unable to raise her, and find she is breaking up.”

                Mapping and Location : Southeast Alaska  55 55 45 N 134 16 W  Chart 17402

                Additional Information : Tonnage 16 Gross 11 Net, Built 1933, Registered Ketchikan, ON 232321, Last Port Coronation Island October 22nd, Destination Egg Harbor, Vessel Value $10,000, Vessel Insurance $2,000, Cargo none

                Source : U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty filed December 18, 1935 at Ketchikan


IDA C (1928)     The 8 ton wooden gas screw Ida C was destroyed by fire at 4:30 p.m. Sunday September 30, 1928 while on a hunting trip to Duke Island.  John Peters, owner and master of the Ida C said the following in the report of casualty:

                “approximately 500 yds. from Duke Island, East side.  Building fire in cabin; tide going out.  Boat aground and tipped over-turning 20 gal. gasoline.”  “Fire…stormy wind and rain…nothing could be done.”

                The two aboard the Ida C survived, but the vessel, valued at $2,800 was a total loss.

                Mapping and Location : Southeast Alaska  54 55 N 131 20 W  Chart 17434

                Additional Information : Tonnage 8 Gross 6 Net, Built 1927, Registered Tacoma and Ketchikan, ON 226274, Last Port Ketchikan September 29th, Destination hunting trip to Duke Island, Insurance none

                Source : U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty file December 2, 1928 at Ketchikan


IDLER (1900)     The 10 ton 31 foot wooden schooner Idler parted her anchor chains and stranded on the north end of Coronation Island  Thursday December 6, 1900 and became a total loss.  The following are statements taken from the wreck report filed by master of the Idler, Charles Nickett of Ketchikan:

                “North end of Coronation Island…Gale, snow, high sea, daylight.”  “Hove to under foresail and staysail, made bad weather, sprung a leak, run before it.”  “Let go both anchors in small time, but parted chains and drifted ashore.”

                The two aboard made it to safety but the Idler, valued at $200 was a total loss no insurance.  She had departed Ketchikan November 22nd bound for Coronation Island and had no cargo.

                Mapping and Location : Southeast Alaska  55 55 45 N 134 16 W  Chart 17402

                Additional Information : Length 31, Breadth 11 Depth 6.3, Built 1892 at Seattle, Tonnage 10 Gross, Registered Ketchikan, ON 100527, Owner J E Lathrop of Ketchikan

                Source : U S Customs Wreck Report filed at Alaska Collection District


ILWACO (1918)      The 61 ton wooden gas screw Ilwaco stranded and was lost at 6 p.m. Tuesday November 5, 1918 at “Green Point, Chatham Sound…about one mile south of Alaskan Boundary” according to the report of casualty.  The crew of seven departed Petersburg November 4th bound for Anacortes, Washington with 17 ½ tons of barreled herring aboard.  At the time of the wreck the weather was foggy with a heavy sea.  The crew escaped and were picked up on the beach by the S S Humbolt.  The Ilwaco was valued at $30,000 and her cargo at $2,300 both total losses with no insurance.

                Mapping and Location : Southeast Alaska  54 34 N 130 41 W  Chart 17420

                Comment : Probably Green Island.  WG

                Additional Information : Tonnage 61 Gross 41 Net, Age 27 years, Registered Seattle, ON 100514, Master Ed Sunner of Anacortes Washington, Owner Apex Fish Co of Seattle

                Source : U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty filed by W A Harcourt, Agent for Apex Fish March 13, 1919


IMPERATOR NIKOLAI  I (1861)     The Russian paddlewheel steamer Imperator Nikolai I struck a rock during a thick snowstorm and was lost between New Archangel (Sitka) and Vancouver November 8, 1861 near Kake Village.  The crew was saved by natives and later picked up by the steamer Aleksandr from Sitka.  Engine parts salvaged from the Imperator Nikolai I were used in the Politkofsky.

                Mapping and Location : Southeast Alaska  56 58 30 N 133 56 30 W  Chart 17368

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


INGER (1925)     The 7 ton wooden gas screw fishing vessel  Inger caught fire and was lost at 8:00 p.m. October 3, 1925 on Gravina Island in Tongass Narrows.  She had departed Ketchikan that day bound for the fishing grounds.  The master of the vessel, Hilmar Ellertsen of Ketchikan stated the following in the report of casualty:

                “No wind, calm weather, dark night…no rain.”  “Tongass Narrows on Gravina Island shore directly across from Smiley’s cannery.”  “Burning of vessel caused by gas explosion by backfiring of engine.”  “After explosion by back firing of engine, fire started, burning the Master severely.  He then beached the vessel on nearest shore to save lives of crew, there being no possibility of saving vessel.”  “Boat beached by master, no chance to save vessel, engine salvaged.”

                The two aboard survived the casualty, but the Inger, valued at $3,000 was lost except for her engine.  There was no insurance on the vessel.  The only cargo aboard was ballast and stores.

                Mapping and Location : Southeast Alaska  55 20 30 N 131 38 45 W  Chart 17428

                Additional Information : Tonnage 7 Net, Built 1919, Registered Ketchikan, ON 218922, Owners Acim Strand and Andrew Gunderson of Ketchikan, Insurance none

                Source : U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty filed by Ellertsen February 18, 1925 at Ketchikan


INSTALLER (1916)     The 18 ton wooden gas screw Installer stranded and was lost at 5 a.m. Wednesday May 17, 1916 at Forrester Island.  The following are statements taken from the report of casualty filed by master of the Installer, Earl C Bright:

                “Cloudy morning; increasing gale and sea from SE…heavy sea.”  “East shore Forrester Island Fish Camp.”  “Moderate gale and sea.  Starlit night…Stranding…Lost Anchor; line foul in propeller.”  “Line to mooring; light anchor out.  Kedge upwind before clear beach; signaled for aid.  Work to clear wheel.”  “Bight outside which I anchored dotted with hundreds of lines and moorings.   Lost anchor and fouled one of these in darkness.  Midnight.  No aid from boats at anchor.  Held off lee shore 5 hours.  Stranded on ebb tide.  Saved everything except hull.”  “Fishermen helped save cargo and machinery.  C Selbach in 5 HP boat rounded island to get aid from G S J P Todd II.  Mr. Willet, U S Warden, stored goods saved.”

                The three aboard the Installer survived the casualty but the Installer, valued at $2,000 was a $1,200 loss.  Her cargo consisted of about 10 tons of merchandise worth $1,000 of which $600 worth was saved.  At the time the report was filed insurance on the vessel was doubtful but the cargo was insured for $1,000.

                Mapping and Location : Southeast Alaska  54 48 N 133 31 W  Chart 17400

                Additional Information : Tonnage 18 Gross 12 Net, Built July 1913, Registered Seattle, ON 211468, Master E C Bright of Ketchikan, Owner W C Kean of Seattle, Last Port Ketchikan May 11th, Destination Forrester Island

                Source : U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty filed by Bright May 22, 1916 at Ketchikan


IONA (1909)     The 5 ton 26 foot wooden gas screw auxiliary gas schooner Iona was struck by the Hegg and lost in Sitka Bay at 1:00 a.m. December 6, 1909.  The following are responses given by master and owner J W Comly to questions in the wreck report:

                “Wind blowing, hard sea.  Sea rolling high.  Dark.”  “Tried to work out of Horner. (Sitka Bay, Alaska).  Struck by the Hegg.  Water was too rough.  Could do nothing.”

                The crew of three escaped but the Iona, valued at $1,000 was lost.  There was no cargo and no insurance.  According to the report, the Iona left Sitka Bay December 3rd bound for Horner.

                Mapping and Location : Southeastern Alaska  57 03 N 135 20 W  Chart 17320

                Comment : H W McCurdy (Pg 169) reports this wreck at Nome.  WG

                Additional Information : Length 26, breadth 9.2, Depth 4.2, Built in 1905 at Skagway, Tonnage 5, Registered at Skagway, ON 202565

                Source : U S Customs Wreck Report filed February 28, 1910 by Comly


IOWA (1927)     The 12 ton wooden gas screw Iowa hit an iceberg late November of 1926, filed a report to the Coast Guard in Juneau June 27, 1927 and then caught fire and burned at the Ketchikan Standard Oil Station July 15, 1927.  The iceberg caused only $400 worth of damage but the loss was total at the oil dock.  The Iowa was worth $2,000 and had no cargo except stores and $112 in cash; all lost.  There was no insurance.  Charles Anderson of Wrangell was the master of the Iowa and the only one aboard at the time of the blaze.  He mentioned in the report of casualty he filed at Wrangell that the fire was caused by some defect in the apparatus of the oil station.

                Mapping and Location : Southeast Alaska  55 20 30 N 131 38 45 W  Chart 17420

                Additional Information : Tonnage 12 Gross 8 Net, Built 1907, Registered Juneau, ON 204103, Owner John Sandman of Wrangell, Last Port Union Bay Cannery July 14, 1927, Destination Ketchikan

                Source : U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty September 9, 1927 at Wrangell


IRENE B (1930)     The 7 ton wooden gas screw Irene B was hauled out on the beach when large waves from a strong SW gale broke her up.  The casualty occurred about one half mile south of Wrangell at 4 a.m. Sunday December 7, 1930.  No one was aboard at the time.  The Irene B was valued at $1,200 when she was lost and had no cargo or insurance.

                Mapping and Location : Southeast Alaska  56 28 N 132 22 40 W  Chart 17382

                Additional Information : Tonnage 7 Gross 5 Net, Built 1910, Registered Wrangell, ON 207245, Master and Owner John Mantle of Wrangell

                Source : U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty filed December 9, 1930 by Mantle at Wrangell


ISLANDER (1901)     The British steamer Islander collided with an iceberg off Douglas Island at the foot of Lynn Canal on August 15, 1901 shortly after leaving Juneau.  There were 109 passengers and 62 crew aboard; 45 were lost.  Some reports have as many as 70 lost.  The Islander was rumored to be carrying 1.5 to 3 million in gold aboard when she sank.  Many attempts at salvage have taken place since the disaster.  One account tells of the vessel being raised in 1934 from 365 feet with no gold aboard. 

                Mapping and Location : Southeast Alaska  58 13 N 134 30 W  Chart 17315

                Additional Information : Master H R Foot, Registered Victoria BC, Owner Canadian Pacific RR

                Sources : 1. Wreck Report made from Dispatch from Consul at Vancouver BC August 31, 1901 made from letter dated August 19, 1901 of Senior Purser Canadian Pacific Navigation Co., 2. Peril at Sea (1986) Pgs 101, 143-8, 170 & 178


ITHONA (1935)     The 29 ton oil screw fishing vessel Ithona stranded on Hogg Rock in a thick fog at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday November 26, 1935.  The vessel departed Ketchikan that day with six crew and 22,000 lbs. of fresh fish aboard.  They were bound for Prince Rupert when the wreck occurred.  The crew made it to safety, but the Ithona, valued at $17,800 and her cargo of fish, valued at $1,950 were lost. 

                Mapping and Location : Southeast Alaska  55 11 15 N 131 18 30 W  Chart 17420

                Comment : Probably Hog Rocks.  WG

                Additional Information : Tonnage 29 Gross 20 Net, Built 1924, Registered Ketchikan, ON 223944, Owner Master Ole Moland of Seattle, Vessel Insurance $3,000, Cargo Insurance $1,620

                Source : U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty filed by Moland December 19, 1935 at Ketchikan


IVIG-see IBIS (1935) (Southeast Alaska)



2 Replies to “South East Alaska Shipwrecks ( I )”

  1. Can you please help me find info/data on the 43′ fish seiner “Universe,” skippered by Captain Tom O’Donnell? All hands were lost (4), except for one survivor who made it to shore (crewman David McCue). I think the Universe was lost in November 1983 in Puget Sound. I’m a researcher. Thank you.

    Mr. Cook

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