South West Alaska Shipwrecks

South West Alaska for the purposes of this website includes everything W of Unimak Pass out the Aleutian Islands to Attu.  This area includes the Pribilof Islands and Saint Matthew Island. I used NOAA International Chart 513 of the North Pacific and Southern Bering Sea to locate the losses.  The locations of each wreck, given in longitude and latitude, are of the geographic feature nearest the loss, not of the wrecks themselves.  I will leave that to those who visit the actual areas and seek out evidence of the casualties.  I am listing vessels alphabetically and setting a link as I complete each letter.

( A )  ( B )  ( C )  ( D )  ( E )  ( F )  ( G )  ( H )  ( I )  ( J )  ( K )  ( L )  ( M )

( N )  ( O )  ( P )  ( Q )  ( R )  ( S )  ( T )  ( U-V-W )  ( X-Y-Z )

Islands of Four Mountains, Aleutian Islands
Islands of Four Mountains, Aleutian Islands

10 Replies to “South West Alaska Shipwrecks”

  1. I’m looking for information regarding the loss of a crabber in the fall of 1968. The vessel name was the Ruth L, owned by Edwin T Grabowski. All I know is the boat was headed for Seattle with a full load of crab and the last contact with the owner was two days before they should have made port. No evidence of the boat or bodies of the crew were ever recovered that the owner’s widow is aware of.

    Also interested in any record you may have of another wreck that happened near Cape Sarichef on December 12th or 13th, 1968. Vessel this time was North Sea, captained by Edwin Grabowski; two crew members lost, bodies never recovered. Vessel lost. Capt. Grabowski was found dead on a nearby beach and the cook Ben Golodov was the sole survivor.

    1. The only reference to a Ruth L that I have found that seems to be close to your inquiry is from 1961. The diesel powered 55 ton crab vessel Ruth L was lost near Cape Douglas November 21, 1961. They were headed to Seldovia with a load of crab. There is mention of Richard “Red” Freimuth lost on the Ruth L on that date in 1961 on the 6th Column of the Fishermen’s Memorial at Homer, Alaska. There is also a memorial brick (#68) with the name Ed Grabowski on it at that same memorial. The North Sea was lost off of the southwest coast of Unimak Island December 12, 1968. My information is about the same as yours regarding the loss of Edwin Grabowski and two others. I find newspaper articles from the time of losses are very productive for information. The best publications are either near the area of the loss or the port where the vessel was registered. Libraries often have microfilms that can be reviewed. Some larger newspapers like the New York Times and the San Francisco Call have digitized the older archives and made them available online. I will watch for further information on the losses as I build this site. My condolences to those who lost friends or loved ones.

      1. Hello I know this is almost 9 years old but I am working with some hydrographic surveyors and we are remapping the whole west side of Unimak island, we just came across what appears to be a 80 to 90ft fishing vessel possibly a crab boat about 15nm off the coast of Cave Point. Maybe it could be the North Sea, I’m also looking for any info of other possible wrecks it could be. Thanks

        1. The North Sea was wood and stranded on the beach in 1968. Two vessels that would be more likely are the Lady of Good Voyage, an 86 foot steel trawler lost with all hands in 1993 or the Ocean Spray, an 81 foot steel trawler lost in 1994. I have files on all three of these vessels. Here are the particulars on the latter two: LADY OF GOOD VOYAGE (1993) The 86 foot steel cod fishing trawler Lady Of Good Voyage disappeared with all hands March 8, 1993. She had departed Dutch Harbor March 7, 1993 between 14:00 and 15:00 hours to fish for Pollock. On March 8, 1993 skipper Greg Schwindt had normal radio conversations at 09:30 and between 10:30 and 12:00. During the latter conversation Schwindt reported he was loaded and returning to Dutch Harbor that evening. The weather included wind from the SSW at 10 to 15 knots, air temperature 35 Fahrenheit and seas out of the south at three to six feet. At 16:27 March 8, 1993 the EPIRB signal from the Lady of Good Voyage was picked up by SARSAT. An urgent marine broadcast was issued on behalf of Lady of Good Voyage
          for vessels in the area of Cape Sarichef and Unimak Pass. Fishing vessels Windjammer, Sea Dawn, Forum Star, Nordic Star, Half Moon Bay, Chelsea K, Morning Star, Pacific Knight, Hazel Loraine I, Amber Dawn, Lola, Westward and Arctic IV responded along with the U S Coast Guard cutter Sherman. An EPIRB (found by the Windjammer), oil slick, crushed life ring (found by the Sherman) and empty life raft (found by the Sea Dawn) were all that was found northwest of Unimak Island. Lost were skipper Gregory R Schwindt (32) of Bellingham WA, Jeremy (Jay) Scott Hunter (37) of Bellingham WA, Larry J Hoover (29) of Newport OR and Eddie Hoover of Portland OR. OCEAN SPRAY (1994) The 81 foot steel trawler Ocean Spray flooded from the stern and sank September 30, 1994 in 50 fathoms of water approximately 35 nautical miles north of Unimak Island in the Bering Sea. Her four crewmembers abandoned ship in survival suits to a liferaft with their EPIRB activated. They were rescued by U S Coast Guard CG-H60 Helicopter and transported to Cold Bay. I will contact you via email for further information.

  2. Thank You. Dick Freimuth was on the Ruth L when she went down. Capt. Grabowski’s widow is (at 92 years young) very sure of that. I hadn’t even thought of the Fisherman’s Memorial. Field Trip this weekend, me thinks… Other than Anchorage and maybe? Homer, do you know of any other newspapers in the area at the time that I could check with?
    Thanks again,
    Nema

  3. Hi again,
    Talked to the Captain’s widow again today and she said a man named Dave Pontz was also on the Ruth L when she went down. She’s ‘pretty sure’ they had a 4 man crew aboard, but she couldn’t remember the other two. Today.

    1. I found a reference to Dave Pontz in the Owosso (Mich) Argus Press of December 30, 1961, Page 12 that mentions that searchers were looking for Dave Pontz and two companions from a 70 foot fishing vessel 200 miles south of Anchorage. The article also states that he left behind a two year old son and was living in Seldovia when the tragedy occurred. That would make the old Seldovia newspapers a good resource for information. I would check and see if the Library there has the old newspapers from that period on microfilm or better yet digitized on computer.

  4. trying to find out about a ship, which is still visible, that rests right out of Belcofski, ak.THANKS!

    1. The only recent wreck in that vicinity was the Capt’n Andrew which was lost over toward Bold Cape in 2011. A better description would be helpful. Wood or metal, rough size (more than 100 feet?), type vessel (freighter, seiner, barge) would be helpful.

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