Unknown or Uncharted Alaska Shipwrecks ( B )

B B 1 (1951)     The 7 ton wooden gas screw B B 1 was lost overboard from the oil screw Sea Lark on July 13, 1951 approximately 400 miles southwest of Ketchikan.

Mapping and Location: Alaska Unknown

Comment: Lost overboard along with the 7 ton wooden gas screws G F 1 and G F 6

Additional Information: Tonnage 7 Gross, Built 1951, ON 261984

Source: Merchant Vessels of the U S (1952) “Vessels Reported Lost” Pg 955


BARBARA HERNSTER (1905)     The Barbara Hernster was reported wrecked near Bald Head at the entrance to Plover Bay within Providence Bay on the east coast of Siberia July 24, 1905.  She was a two masted schooner of 148 tons built in Fairhaven California by Bendixsen in 1887 for Robert Sudden of San Francisco.  At the time of the accident the Barbara Hernster was reported to have been attempting to recover a cache of furs and ivory worth over a million dollars. The expedition was initiated by the Northeastern Siberian Company.

Mapping and Location: Siberian Coast

Comment: A detailed accounting of this wreck is available online by researching her captain, Olaf Swenson.

Sources: 1. The H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1966) Pg 115, 2. Seattle Daily Times (April 13, 1904) “To Rescue Treasure” Pg 2

BELVEDERE (1919)     The steam whaling bark Belvedere was abandoned on Tuesday September 16, 1919 at 7:45 in the morning by her thirty crew and three passengers.  She had been trapped in the ice twelve miles N.E. of Cape Jinretlen on the coast of Siberia.  The Belvedere had departed Nome on August 13, 1919 on a voyage to the Siberian Coast.  The financial loss included the vessel’s value at $100,000 and her cargo of 110 tons of general merchandise, furs, ivory, whalebone, walrus oil and hides worth $90,000.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report filed by her master, Carl Hansen of Seattle:

“Vessel in heavy NE gale, could not weather the ice on the outside and had to follow a lead on inside, and was prevented from maneuvering the vessel.”  “Tried to get into a lead where the water was smooth so I could handle the vessel, but could not.”  “Gale at seventy miles an hour, blinding snow storm and dark.”  “Steering gear carried away at 9:30 P.M. on September 15, ice closed in rapidly and made it impossible to move vessel.  Abandoned vessel at 7:45 A.M. on Sept. 16, with eight feet of water in hold and the vessel sank at 11: 45 A.M. on September 16, 1919.”  All souls onboard survived.

Mapping and Location: Siberian Coast   67 07 N 173 39 W

Comment: Probably Cape Dzhenretlen WG

Additional Information: Tonnage 523 Gross 406 Net, Built in 1880, Registration Seattle, ON 3126, Owner Hibbard-Stewart Co & Olof Swenson of Seattle

Sources: 1. U S Customs Wreck Report filed at Nome Collection District 31 on October 13, 1919, 2. The H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1966) Pg 312

BESSIE REUTER (1892)     The 31 ton schooner Bessie Reuter is reported to have been lost in 1892 with all hands in Alaskan waters.

Mapping and Location: Unknown Alaskan Waters

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

BOLCOM NO. 8 (1924)     The 63 ton barge Bolcom No. 8 became a total loss in 1924 after stranding at Bluff Point.

Mapping and Location: Unknown (too many Bluff Points)

Additional Information: Tonnage 63, Built 1911 at Seattle WA, ON 164611

Source: Merchant Vessels of the U S (1928) “Vessels Reported Lost” Pg 888

BONANZA (1905)     It was Wednesday 7:00 p.m. August 23, 1905 when the wood schooner Bonanza was crushed by ice at King Point in the Arctic Ocean. She was reported to have been beached at Herschel Island by her master, William Mogg of San Francisco.  She departed San Francisco March 30, 1903 bound for whaling and trading.  The value of her cargo at the time of the tragedy was $8,000 worth of ship stores and whaling gear.  The value of the Bonanza at the time of her loss was reported at $6,000.  The crew of 23 all survived. The following are excerpts from the wreck report filed by Mogg December 7, 1905:

“Strong southerly wind, clear.”  “Caught in ice pack.”  “Crushed by ice.”  “Leaking so badly, had to beach vessel and was there jammed by ice.”

Mapping and Location: Northern Yukon Territory   69 65 N 138 55 W

Additional Information: Tonnage 152.4, Length 102, Breadth 27.2, Depth 8.7, Built 1875 in San Francisco, Registered San Francisco, ON 2967, Owner Pacific Trading Company of San Francisco

Sources: 1. U S Customs Wreck Report Alaska Collection District, 2. The H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1966) Pgs 115&116

BRAMIN (1851)     The 245 ton whaling bark Bramin was lost September 25, 1851 about 100 miles from East Cape while on a whaling voyage in the Arctic.  The Bramin had suffered a collision with the whaling bark Adeline during a heavy northeasterly snowstorm and sustained a crippling blow.  The following are excerpts from an accounting given in a letter by her first officer Gilbert Baden published in 1852:

“On the 7th of Sept., the Bramin was driven on the south-west shore of the Arctic Ocean in a gale of wind, about 100 miles from East Cape.  On the 25th, at 3 o’clock, A.M., while lying too in a gale under close reefed main and mizzen top-sails, wind from the North heading East North-East, the weather being thick with snow.”  “We saw a ship on our lee bow under a heavy press of canvass standing directly for us, and before the wheel could be put up or other precautions taken, she came into us with a heavy crash, carrying away starboard anchor, ship’s head and head-frame, foretop gallant and royal masts, jib, flying jibs and booms, all head stays, martingale, shrouds and gear belonging to the bowsprit, and rendering it useless….leaving us in a leaky and unmanageable condition.”  “We wore ship and made what sail we could.  It was so thick we could see no land.  We saw the ship that had run into us at anchor, proving to be the Adeline, of New Bedford.  She was in a bad or even a worse condition than ourselves.”  “…on the morning of the 27th, the fog clearing, we found ourselves close upon a lee shore three or four miles from land in an open bay, the gale increasing.  We found we could not head out on either tack, and were drifting fast upon the breakers which were mast-head high.  We concluded to stand along as near the other ship as we could, let go our anchors and stand our chance with the rest.”  “….when the ship gave an uncommonly heavy plunge, and parted the chain, and with it destroyed our last and only hope of saving the ship, it being time to look out for ourselves. We got the boats ready, all hands got into them, and with much danger shoved off from the ship, being close by the breakers.  We dared not stop to get a second suit, but were glad to escape with our lives.  After much toil and trouble we arrived on board the Adeline

The estimated value of the Bramin and her cargo of whale oil and bone was $20,000

Mapping and Location: Siberia

Sources: 1. New Bedford Mercury / New York Times (January 20, 1853), 2. Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)


BRISTOL (1902)     The 1274 ton British steamer Bristol was lost on January 2, 1902 along with 7 of her crew of 28.  She was on a voyage from Ladysmith, Vancouver Island to the Treadwell Mines in Alaska when she stranded on a reef at 11:00 p.m. off Grey Island, N Dundas Island in Chatham Sound.  The Bristol was laden with coal and struggling in a southeasterly gale when the stranding occurred.  At 7:00 the following morning, the Bristol slipped off of the reef and sank in 34 fathoms of water.  Her master, James McIntyre, her pilot, her chief and her 3rd engineer along with three other crew members were drowned.

Mapping and Location: British Columbia   54 40 N 13 130 44 W

Comment: I have seen this wreck marked in a captain’s log from the period well north of the reported location near Grey Island. WG

Sources: 1. The Annual Report of Canada Department of Marine and Fisheries (1903) Pg 75, 2. Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)


BUENA VISTA (1870)     It was June of 1870 when the vessel Buena Vista was lost in the Gulf of Alaska.

Mapping and Location: Unknown

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

BYZANTIUM (1871)     The 179 ton brig Byzantium was lost October 19, 1871 after striking a reef in Weynton Passage in Johnstone Strait.  The vessel was on a whaling cruise to the north with captain Thomas Welcome Roys at the helm.  She slipped off of the reef and sank in 60 fathoms of water.

Mapping and Location: British Columbia   Canadian Chart 3546

Sources: 1. Lewis and Dreyden Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1961) Pg 199, 2. Wikipedia.org “History of whaling”

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