Unknown or Uncharted Alaska Shipwrecks ( K )

K #4 (1913)     The 15 ton wood scow K #4 broke loose from her moorings and stranded at N Clock Point,  S.E. Alaska at 3 a.m. July 15, 1913.  She was reported as a total loss, no cargo.  The K #4 was valued at $800 and owned by the Kasaan Co. of Kasaan.  There was no insurance.  Conditions at the time were “heavy S.E. winds, 3 a.m. daylight.”

                Mapping and Location : Southeast Alaska  Unknown

                Additional Information : Tonnage 15, Built Ketchikan 1911, Registered Ketchikan, ON 164447, Master A E Wadhams of Kasaan

                Source : U S Customs Wreck Report filed July 15, 1913 by Wadhams


KAMCHATKA (1921)     The 552 ton wooden motorship Kamchatka caught fire midnight Thursday April 14, 1921 approximately 400 miles off of the Shumagin Islands.  The blaze started in the engine room and spread rapidly.  All 23 of the crewmen escaped to a launch and a whaleboat.  86 hours after abandoning ship the group reached the Shumagin Islands and safety.  The Kamchatka had departed Seattle April 3, 1921 bound for Petropovlovak, Kamchatka, Siberia.  She was laden with 436 tons of general trading cargo and oil worth $200,000.  The conditions at the time were listed as “strong breeze, clear, rough sea, dark.”  The dismasted burned hulk was sighted May 23, 1921 drifting far to the south.

                Mapping and Location : Southcentral Alaska Unknown

                Comment : Dead reckoning location of tragedy 51 57 N 154 53 W on report

                Additional Information : Tonnage 552 Gross 414 Net, Age 38 years (Originally the whaling bark Thrasher), Registered Seattle, ON 145343, Master John Bertonecini of Seattle, Owner Hibbard Swenson of Seattle, Vessel Value $135,000, Vessel Insurance $100,000, Cargo Insurance $141,000

                Sources : 1. U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty filed by Bertonecini May 13, 1921, 2. BOEMRE Shipwreck List (2011)


KARLUK (1914)    The Stefannson Arctic Expedition brigantine Karluk was trapped in the ice in August of 1913 while travelling to Herschel Island in the Arctic.  She drifted in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and eventually was crushed by the ice and sank.  The crew and expedition staff survived on the ice and made their way to Wrangell Island months later.  Eleven men perished before they were finally rescued by the vessel King & Winge in September of 1914. (see photographs)

                Mapping and Location : Northern Alaska Unknown

                Sources : 1. The H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1966) Pgs 242&247, 2. Wikipedia, “Voyage of the Karluk”, 3. Bartlett’s Story of the Karluk New York Times June 1, 1914


KENNECOTT (1923)     The 3620 ton steel motor ship Kennecott stranded and was lost at Hunters Point, Graham Island, BC at 11:55 p.m. Monday October 8, 1923. The vessel departed Cordova October 3, 1923 bound for Seattle with 31 crewmen aboard.  Her cargo; 6000 tons of copper ore concentrates and 40,000 cases of salmon, was worth a million dollars.  Captain John A (Laughing Jack) Johnson of Seattle claimed that “dirty weather prevented taking sight of sun to ascertain…position.”  The USCG cutter Unalga, USCGS steamer Surveyer, and steamer Cordova all responded to the wreck site and took the crew aboard.  It was determined that nothing more could be done.  Soon after the British salvage steamer Algerine was dispatched from Victoria, BC to the wreck but ran ashore and returned to port in distress herself.  Many of the Kennecott’s crew were taken to Ketchikan and then on to Seattle aboard the SS Alameda.  A group of 8 men including Captain Johnson were left on the beach to guard the wreck site.  They were picked up by the salvage tug Hercules and transported home via Vancouver.  Captain Johnson disappeared the night of October 21, 1923 on his way back to Victoria aboard the Algerine.  The Kennecott was his second shipwreck as captain; the first being the sinking of the Ohio in 1909 in Finlayson Channel, BC.  That wreck cost his purser, quartermaster, wireless operator and one soldier their lives.   As the Algerine approached the earlier shipwreck site, it is said that “Laughing Jack” Johnson lept overboard to his death.  The Kennecott is reported to have broken up quickly with two main parts of the hull drifting away and sinking.

                Mapping and Location : British Columbia

                Additional Information :  Tonnage 3620 Gross 2242 Net, Age 2 years, Registered NY, ON 221096, Owner Alaska Steamship Company of Seattle, Vessel Value $1,176,000, Vessel Insurance $898,000, Cargo Value $500,000, Cargo fully insured

                Sources : 1. U S C G Report of Casualty October 31, 1923 by Supt. AK Steamship Co, 2. Alaska Steam (1984) Pg 73


KENTUCKY (1926)     The gas screw vessel Kentucky was lost at Halibut Cove September 23, 1926.

                Mapping and Location : Unknown (Multiple Halibut Coves)

                Source : The H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1966) Pg 375


KITTIWAKE (1913)     A motor vessel named Kittiwake is reported lost off of East Cape in Alaskan waters, September 6, 1913 on Pg 230 of The H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest

                Mapping and Location : Unknown Alaskan Waters

                Comment : There are multiple East Capes in Alaskan waters but it is interesting to note that there is an East Cape on Buldir Island in the Aleutians and a pond called Kittiwake Pond not that far away on the same Island.  WG

                Sources . 1. The H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1966) Pg 230, 2. The Dictionary of Alaska Place Names (1967) – Kittiwake Pond Pg 527



One Reply to “Unknown or Uncharted Alaska Shipwrecks ( K )”

  1. Hello, I had an uncle who worked for the Alaska Steamship Co. He was aboard the Kennekott when it floundered. He has many pictures of boats he worked on during that timeframe. I.E. S.S. Alaska Lakina, Cordova, Redondo Dupere, Dolphin, etc. You have a great site in reflecting of those long forgotten times of sailing.

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