Unknown or Uncharted Alaska Shipwrecks ( O )

OHIO (1909)     The 3488 ton 343 foot iron steamship Ohio struck a reef in Finlayson Channel, British Columbia and sank at 1:00 a.m. Thursday August 26, 1909.  The vessel was on her way to Prince William Sound from Seattle, having departed August 24, 1909.  There were 188 passengers and 88 crewmen aboard.  Four persons were lost; Albert Anderson the Quartermaster, George E Eccles the Wireless Operator, F J Stephen the Purser, and Dock A Hayes a soldier.  The three crewmen from the Ohio had stayed back to help the seasick soldier and were lost with him.  The damaged Ohio almost made it to Carter Bay, but incoming water reached the boilers and they exploded, sinking the vessel quickly.  She was carrying 1,100 tons of general merchandise worth $115,793.  The passengers who didn’t jump overboard and swim for it were landed on the beach in ships boats.  From there they were transported by the fishing boat Kingfisher to the steamers Humbolt and Rupert City.  The wreck report states that there were high southeast winds and rain on a very dark night when the accident happened.  The Ohio was valued at $200,000 at the time of the disaster.

Mapping and Location: British Columbia

Additional Information: Tonnage 3488 Gross, Length 343, Breadth 43, Depth 24.9, Service – Passenger, IHP 2,000, Built 1873 Philadelphia PA, Registered Port Townsend WA, ON 19376, Master J Johnson of Seattle, Owner Alaska Steamship Company of Seattle, Vessel Insurance $175,000

Sources: 1. U S Customs Wreck Report August 30, 1909 at Puget Sound by Frank E Burns, Manager Alaska SS Company, 2. Alaska Steam (1984) Pg 43

OLIVIA (1906)     The schooner Olivia was lost in a storm in Dolphin Island Bay in 1906 along with the schooner Mary Gray and sloop Lila.  The three vessels are mistakenly listed on Alaska shipwrecks lists since as early as 1914.  All three were in fact lost off the coast of Alabama in the hurricane that made landfall south of Mobile September 27, 1906.

Mapping and Location: Unknown – Error in Location

Sources: 1. The H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1966) Pg 128, 2. Washington Historical Quarterly (1916) “Marine Disasters of the Alaska Route” Pgs 21-37, 3. Historic Shipwrecks and Magnetic Anomalies of the Northern Gulf of Mexico (1989) Pg H-17


ONTARIO (1866)     The 489 ton bark Ontario was abandoned in the Chukchi Sea after a collision with the Helen Mar September 27, 1866.  The Ontario departed New Bedford, Massachusetts July 2, 1863 on a whaling voyage to the Arctic.  She was carrying 1050 barrels of whale oil at the time of the disaster.  The vessel was abandoned at 70 25 N and drifted through the Bering Strait during the winter.  She washed up on shore nine miles north of Mys Chaplina (Indian Point), Chukotka, Russia, northwest of Saint Lawrence Island.

Mapping and Location: Russia

Sources: 1. Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992), 2. The Northern Mariner (2006) “Nineteenth Century Commercial Shipping Losses” Pg 60

ORIOLE (1871)     The 280 ton wooden whaling bark Oriole was crushed by ice and abandoned near Zaliv Lavrentia (St Lawrence Bay), Chukotka, Russia  September of 1871.  The vessel was towed to Bukhta Provideniya (Plover Bay) and abandoned.  The Oriole sailed out of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Mapping and Location: Russia

Source: The Northern Mariner (2006) “Nineteenth Century Commercial Shipping Losses” Pg 62

ORYONG 501 (2014)     The 326 foot South Korean fishing vessel Oryong 501 sank in the Western Bering Sea with 60 crewmembers aboard November 30, 2014. The vessel was hauling back her net while fishing for Pollack when a large wave washed aboard flooding her storage compartments. There were 35 Indonesians, 13 Filipinos, 11 Koreans and one Russian fishing inspector aboard. Only one of the Oryong’s eight life rafts was found with eight persons aboard. One of those died. Three Filipinos, three Indonesians and the Russian inspector were the only survivors. The disaster occurred 15 miles outside of U S Waters, 150 miles northwest of Saint Matthew Island in the Bering Sea. High winds, poor visibility and seas 22 to 26 feet high hampered the search for survivors.

Mapping and Location: Russian Waters   62 N 177 W   Chart 514 INT

Sources: 1. Associated Press (December 1, 2014) “No sign of more than 50 fishermen missing after boat sinks in Bering Sea”, 2. The Advocate (December 3, 2014) “Fears rise for missing from S. Korean ship”


OTTER (1889)   The 74 ton 81 foot schooner Otter was lost with all hands in the North Pacific in March of 1889.  The Otter Departed San Francisco March 2, 1889 bound for the Shumagin Islands with 23 crewmen aboard and never was heard from again.  Two other vessels, the schooner James A Hamilton and the schooner Annie also disappeared on the same route at the same time.  Lost from the Otter were Captain – G W Littlejohn, First Mate – Joseph Wilson, Boatswain – Charles Swanson, Hunters – John P Sidwell, W C Peterson, Ernest Fisher and Herman Rode, Seamen – Joseph Richards, William Neven, W Eitel, Henry Edwards, Frank Sawyer, Frank Mulhi, John Johnson, F G Sutton, John Herman, Heinriech Kellinen, John Brown, Martin Anderson, Hans Knudtsen and J E Burnett, Cabinboy – C L Wolf, and Cook Gotlieb Elsen.  The Otter was valued at $10,000 at the time of the disaster.

Mapping and Location: Unknown Alaska

Additional Information: Tonnage 73.75, Length 81, Breadth 24.6, Depth 7.6, Built 1881 at San Francisco, Registered Sitka, ON 155024, Master G W Littlejohn, Owner H Liebes

Sources: 1. Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992), 2. Daily Alta California (July 25, 1889) “Probable Loss of Three Schooners Which Left Last March” Pg 2 Col 1, 3. Merchant Sailing Vessels of the United States (1888) Pg 210

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