South West Alaska Shipwrecks ( B )

BARBAROSSA (1991)     The 98 foot crab fishing vessel Barbarossa disappeared with all hands February 10, 1991 near Saint George Island in the Bering Sea. Early that morning, a brief message was broadcast over the marine radio that caught the attention of three boats in the crab fleet who were engaged in opilio crab fishing near the Pribilof Islands of the Bering Sea. “May-Day, we’re going over, we’re about 40 miles west of St. George Island, please hurry.”  The name of the vessel in distress was not given. The message was relayed to the U.S. Coast Guard who immediately began a search for the identification of the source of the radio call. Aircraft and ships were deployed to the area where the distress call was heard southwest of Saint George Island. Working with the fleet on the crab grounds, the Coast Guard was able to determine that the Barbarossa was likely the source of the call. The conclusion was determined by a meticulous process of elimination. 30 knot winds and 14 foot seas with temperatures in the teens did not help initial efforts to locate the ship. No significant sign of the Barbarossa was ever found. Lost were captain George Brandenburg (39) of Kodiak, Dennis Olberding (38) of Kodiak, Brian McPherson of Kodiak, Tim Schmitt of Kodiak, Darryl Gross of Wrangell and Don Bright. According to the Coast Guard, the Barbarossa was equipped with a 10 person self deploying life raft, 6 Survival Suits with strobes and 3 Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons, at least one of which was self deploying.

Mapping and Location: Southwest Alaska   56 35 N 169 35 W   Chart 16011

Comment: The Barbarossa had been disabled in a storm November 25, 1990. WG

Additional Information: Tonnage 195 Gross 149 Net, Length 81.6, Breadth 24, Depth 10.6, Built 1979, ON 613597, Manufacturer Hull Number 792, Owner Carolyn Jean Inc., ADF&G No. 39136, CFEC ID 958127

Sources: 1. Unofficial Shipwreck List (Kodiak), 2. BOEM Alaska Shipwreck List (2011), 3. Sitka Daily Sentinel (February 12, 1991) “Coast Guard Resumes Search for Crab Boat” Pg. 3

BARGE NO 18 (1958)     Tank Barge No 18 stranded and became a total loss October 22, 1958 on Shemya Island.  The barge was under tow by the tug Wando on her way to the Northwest Orient Airlines Base on Shemya.  There was no loss of life.

Mapping and Location: Southwest Alaska   52 43 20 N 174 07 E   Chart 16012

Source: BOEM Alaska Shipwreck List (2011)

 

BARON (1977)     The 139 ton 75 foot oil screw Baron stranded and was lost December 3, 1977 off of Cape Cheerful.  Four men, three women and an infant were rescued by the patrol vessel Vigilant.

Mapping and Location: Southwest Alaska   55 00 50 N 166 40 30 W   Chart 16011

Additional Information: Tonnage 139, Built 1967, ON 511839

Sources: 1. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1979) “Vessels Reported Lost” Pg 2241, 2. Unofficial Wreck List, 3. Seattle Times (October 8, 1988) “Vessel is Vigilant while patrolling Alaskan waters” Pg M 6

BEAR (1908)     It was 9:00 p.m. on Friday the 13th of March, 1908 when the 38 foot American schooner Bear drug anchor and washed up on a reef at Kashega, 80 miles from Unalaska.  Local natives attempted to assist the master, Edward Lee of Unalaska, and his two crewmen but the nasty weather proved to be too much.  The following are quotes from the wreck report:

“Kechiga, 80 miles from Unalaska, struck a reef of rocks.” “Anchors dragged, chains parted, and vessel washed ashore on reef of rocks.” “Dropped another anchor, but would not hold very good, cable parted.”  “This is a local schooner that runs around Unalaska Island.  Ship’s papers lost.”

The Bear was valued at $1,000 at the time of the accident and had a cargo of $300 worth of provisions.  Some of the two ton cargo was salvaged but the vessel became a total loss.

Mapping and Location: Southwestern Alaska   53 28 50 N 167 10 30 W

Additional Information: Construction wood, Tonnage 11 net, Length 38.7, Breadth 12.7, Depth 4.6, Built 1896 in Seattle, Registration Unalaska, ON 3691

Sources: 1. U S Customs Wreck Report Alaska District March 26, 1908, 2. The H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1966) Pg 156

BELAIR (1994)     The 91 foot crab fishing vessel Belair stranded and was lost February 1, 1994 at a seal rookery on the south side of Saint George Island.  A helmsman sleeping at the wheel was the cause of the disaster.  All six crewmembers escaped on a life raft to the beach where they were airlifted by a U S Coast Guard Helicopter from the Coast Guard cutter Rush to the fish processor Blue Wave moored nearby. The crew aboard the Belair was reported to include owner operator Lou Dochtermann of Kodiak, Bernie Maier of Kodiak, Robert Hunter of Kodiak, George Owner of Kodiak, Wade VanSant of Washington state and Joey Wolff of Washington state. Heavy seas broke up the Belair on the rocks and she became a total loss.

Mapping and Location: Southwest Alaska   56 35 N 169 35 W   Chart 16011

Additional Information: ON 221429

Sources: 1. Unofficial Shipwreck List (Alaska), 2. BOEM Alaska Shipwreck List (2011), 3. Sitka Sentinel (February 2, 1994) “Boat Grounds; Crew Rescued” Pg 8, 4. USCG MISLE Case # 60465

BELLA (1879)       It was 10:30 in the morning December 5, 1879 when the American schooner Bella missed stays in a westerly storm and stranded at the north entrance to Oumnak Island.  The crew of 5 made it ashore but the Bella, valued at $4,000 broke up on the beach beyond repair.

Mapping and Location: Southwestern Alaska   53 22 N 167 50 W

Additional Information: Construction wood, Tonnage 34.83, Age 4 years, Registered San Francisco, ON 3003, Master William Peterson of San Francisco, Owner Alaska Commercial Company of San Francisco, Last Port Ounalaska, Bound for the Aleutian Islands

Source: U S Customs Wreck Report filed by company agent A Greenbaum at San Francisco Collection District December 6, 1880

BETTLES (1966)     The landing craft Bettles grounded and broke up in 65 mile an hour winds and rough seas November 8, 1966 off of Semisopochnoi Island in the Aleutian Islands.  All crewmembers were rescued by the U S Coast Guard cutter Balsam.

Mapping and Location: Southwest Alaska   51 55 N 179 36 E   Chart 16012

Source: BOEM Alaska Shipwreck List (2011)

 

BETTY B (1991)     The 37 foot fishing vessel Betty B hit a rock, capsized and was lost June 26, 1991 in Atka Pass near Atka Island.  The vessel was fishing black cod when the disaster occurred.  Lost were skipper Patrick Flanery (36) of Sitka and James Weber (36) of Kodiak.  Todd Burns was the sole survivor.  The same vessel had lost another crewman, Thor Plumlee, in a skiff accident off of Umnak Island in March.  The same skipper had also lost another vessel, the Jessica B, on a reef in December of 1990.

Mapping and Location: Southwest Alaska   52 00 N 175 22 W   Chart 16012

Additional Information: ON 252407

Sources: 1. Unofficial Shipwreck List (Kodiak), 2. BOEM Alaska Shipwreck List (2011), 3. Anchorage Daily News (July 6, 1991) “As boat sinks, crewmen say goodbye”

BIG VALLEY (2005)     The 92 foot Opilio crab fishing vessel Big Valley sank January 15, 2005 approximately 78 miles west of Saint Paul Island in the Bering Sea.  An EPIRB signal was picked up at the U S Coast Guard Station in Kodiak at 7:15 a.m. and search and rescue began immediately.  Four hours later a life raft was found with one survivor; Cache Seel (30) of Kodiak.  Subsequent searches and investigations revealed that the other five crewmen of the Big Valley were lost.  They included owner and captain Gary Edwards (46) of Kodiak, Danny Vermeersch of Belgium, Josias Hernandez Luna (48) of Anchorage, Carlos Rivero (30) of Uraguay and Aaron Marrs (27) of Nashville TN. The U S Coast Guard attributed the disaster to a loss of stability caused by overloading.

Mapping and Location: Southwest Alaska   57 10 N 170 15 W

Additional Information: ON 515719, Call Sign WY5025

Sources: 1. USCG Press Releases (January 2001), 2. Kodiak Daily Mirror (January 18, 2005) “Spokesman of survivor gives details of Big Valley tragedy”, 3. USCG MISLE Case # 216562

BIRGIT N (1987)     The 123 foot crab fishing vessel Birgit N grounded and was destroyed March 8, 1987 in Patton Cove on Ulak Island in the Aleutians.

Mapping and Location: Southwest Alaska   51 20 45 N 178 57 W   Chart 16012

Comment: Probably the Birgit – N

Additional Information: ON 616323

Source: BOEM Alaska Shipwreck List (2011)

 

BOKSETEGORSK (1965)     The Russian motor trawler Boksetegorsk foundered in a gale January 15, 1965 between Saint Matthew Island and the Pribilof Islands.  All 14 crewmembers were lost.  Three more Russian trawlers with approximately 14 crewmembers on each were lost five days later in the same area.  They included the Nahichevan, Sebezh and Sevsk.

Mapping and Location: Southwest Alaska   60 24 N 172 42 W   Chart 16006

Comment: May be spelled Boksitogorsk, Voksetegorsk.  WG

Sources: 1. BOEM Alaska Shipwreck List (2011), 2. Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge LA) (January 22, 1965) “U S is asked to help locate Soviet trawlers” Pg 4 B

 

BON SU MAR (1988)     The 90 foot steel hulled trawler Bon Su Mar was lost December 22, 1988 off of Saint Paul Island.  The crew was rescued by the fishing vessel Amber Dawn.  The following is a statement made by Jim Durda, one of the survivors:

“I was one of the survivors of the Bon Su Mar.  I remember running down the port side of the boat to jump into the raft.  It was not a nice night but the Amber Dawn didn’t let us down.   It was blowing 60 plus and very dark; we were in the raft for about two hours but it seemed like forever waiting for them to find us.”

Mapping and Location: Southwest Alaska   57 10 N 170 15 W   Chart 16011

Additional Information: Tonnage 186 Gross 126 Net, Length 84.6, Breadth 26, Depth 12.6, Built 1971 at Lockport LA, Former Names George Castigliola and Tam-Ran, 725 HP, SL WYZ3666, ON 531320

Sources: 1. Unofficial Shipwreck List (Kodiak), 2. Crewmember Interview WG, 3. Merchant Vessels of the U.S. (1979) Pg 567

BORNEO MARU (1942)     The 5,863 ton Japanese cargo ship Borneo Maru was attacked by U S Army aircraft, stranded and was lost October 5, 1942 at the head of Gertrude Cove on Kiska Island.

Mapping and Location: Southwest Alaska   51 56 N 177 26 45 W   Charts 16012, 16441

Source: BOEM Alaska Shipwreck List (2011)

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