West Central Alaska Shipwrecks ( M )

M M MORRILL (1903)     The 60 foot 43 ton sealing schooner M M Morill foundered June 30, 1903 along with the schooner James G Swan along the coast of Alaska.  The vessel was built in Seattle in 1894.  News of the wreck came from Kotzebue Sound and reported that the captain of the M M Morill, Louis F. Bernhardt, was drowned when the ship was lost. The rest of the crew is reported to have survived.

Mapping and Location: West Central Alaska   66 45 N 163 00 W   Chart 16005

Sources: 1. The H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1966) Pg 94, 2. BOEMRE Shipwreck Database (2011), 3. The Cleveland Leader (August 22, 1899) “A Cleveland Man” Pg 6 Col 6

M T B S INC V (1955)     The 45 ton 50 foot wooden freight barge M T B S Inc V stranded and was lost July 15, 1955 at Unalakleet.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   63 52 25 N 160 47 W   Chart 16006

Additional Information: Tonnage 45 Gross and Net, Length 50, Breadth 22, Depth 5, Built 1931 at Seattle, Owner Northern Commercial Company, Registered Juneau, ON 171297

Sources: 1. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1955) Pg 310, 2. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1956) “Vessels Reported Lost” Pg 744


MABLE LANE (1898)     The river steamer Mable Lane was lost in the Bering Sea July 17, 1898.  She had departed Dutch Harbor bound for St Michael under tow of the vessel South Portland.  The Mabel Lane’s tow line parted in a gale and she filled and sank.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska Unknown

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

MALROE (1919)     The 12 ton wooden schooner Malroe was destroyed by fire near Nome on Monday August 25, 1919.  The vessel was out of commission and hauled out on the bank of the Snake River about a half mile from the mouth.  The cause of the fire was unknown.  The Malroe was valued at $400 and had no insurance.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   64 30 N 165 25 W   Chart 16206

Additional Information: Tonnage 12 Gross 10 Net, Built 1905, Registered Nome, ON 202250, Owner and Master W E Wagner of Nome

Source: U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty August 28, 1919 by Wagner at Nome

MARY MITCHELL (1851)     The 354 ton whaling ship Mary Mitchell was stove in by ice and lost in the Bering Sea 30 miles northwest of King Island on July 1, 1851.  Captain Sayer had brought the vessel up from San Francisco for whaling in the Arctic.  She was valued at $22,000 with cargo.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska 64 58 N 168 05 W   Chart 16006

Sources:  1. Marine Disasters of the Alaska Route (1916) Pg 31, 2. The Northern Mariner (April 2006) “19th Century Commercial Shipping Losses” Pg 57

MASSACHUSETTS (1871)     The 351 ton wooden ship Massachusetts was lost at Scammon’s Lagoon north of Cape Romanzoff February 6, 1871.  The vessel’s home port was San Francisco and she was in service in the whaling trade.  Her value at the time of the loss was $45,000 with cargo.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   61 55 N 165 50 W   Chart 16240

Comment: Scammon Bay and Cape Romanzof. WG

Source: Alaska Packers Association Record (1982 Microfilms)

MAUDE (1900)     The 161 ton wooden red barge Maude broke up on the beach near St. Michael at 8:00 a.m. Saturday October 20, 1900.  She was employed lightering coal in St. Michael Bay, having departed St. Michael October 19th with three crew and 65 tons of coal in sacks worth $1,000.  The following are excerpts from the wreck report filed at St. Michael:

“Very stormy and high sea.”  “About three miles east of Lamont Point”  “Heavy seas compelled the cutting her adrift from the coal ship.”

From a copy of St. Michael station Log:

Canarvin cut the red barge adrift early in the morning with 878 sacks of coal aboard.  It was very rough when we discovered that the barge had been cut adrift.  In the mean time the S S Roanoke was flying her ensign and the Govt. transport Seward put for Egg Island.  The N A T Co chartered the A E Co tug Meteor and started for the Roanoke at 10 a.m.  Rough seas, however prevented her from reaching the Roanoke, and they returned.  They were within a mile of the barge Maude, but could only see her Pilot house.  She is floating towards the mainland.  At 11 a.m. the Roanoke started for Egg Island for protection against the seas.  Sunday, Oct 21, our red barge is visible on the beach of the mainland.  The Govt. is responsible for her in accordance with the agreement we made with them.  Monday Oct. 22, the red barge is asunder on the mainland.  She is broken in 3 pieces.”

The red barge Maude was valued at $5,000 at the time of the loss.  The crew made it to safety but the barge and coal were lost with no insurance.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   63 27 N 162 W   Chart 16240

Additional Information: Tonnage 161, Built 1898 St. Michael, Registered St. Michael, ON 51310, Master Henry Jackson, Owner Pat Galvin of Seattle, Service Lightering in St. Michael Bay

Source: U S Customs Wreck Report at St. Michael by J E Hanson, Agent

MAWEEMA (1928)     The 156 foot 453 ton wooden cod schooner Maweema stranded and was lost on Tolstoi Point, St George Island in the Bering Sea at 3 a.m. Sunday August 19, 1928.  She had a crew of 31 and 500 tons of salt cod fish aboard worth $35,000 when the disaster occurred.  The following are statements made in the casualty report by Robert Firth, master of the Maweema:

“Wind light…Heavy sea…heavy fog.”  “On north side of St. George Isl.  about 5 mi. from village.”  “Stranding.”  “Dense fog & light winds.”  “Total wreck…Total loss.”  “Crew left wreck in ship’s boats.”

The Maweema was valued at $11,000 at the time of the disaster.  The entire crew survived.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   56 35 40 N 169 28 W   Chart 16381

Additional Information: Tonnage 453 Gross 392 Net, Length 156, Breadth 36, Depth 11.8, Built 1895 at Fairhaven CA, Registered San Francisco, SL KMLT, ON 92684, Master Robert Firth of San Francisco, Owner Alaska Codfish Company of San Francisco, Last Port San Francisco March 29, 1928, Insurance unknown

Sources: 1. U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty August 22, 1928 by Firth at Unalaska, 2. Seattle Daily Times (August 28, 1928) Pg 31, 3. Merchant Vessels of the U S (1927) Pgs 574-5

MAYFLOWER (1900)     The sloop Mayflower was lost at Hooper Bay in August of 1900 with all hands.  The following is an excerpt from the U S Revenue Cutter Service report of the disaster:

“On July 9, 1900 the sloop Mayflower left Nome, AK bound for the mouth of the Kuskokwim River… Captain W S Allen and 6 others…report reached me…vessel had been wrecked on Nelson Island…some time during August…all hands had been drowned in an attempt to make the shore.  It was also reported that the natives in that neighborhood had stripped them of all their clothing and what money and valuables they had in their possession.  It is supposed that the party had in their possession between $3,000 and $5,000 in cash when leaving Nome, but whether they had this money on their persons at the time the vessel was wrecked is impossible to say…Captain Geo. H Whitney in the summer of 1901 learned from a trader living on Cape Vancouver, Nelson Island, that a sloop had been wrecked in Hooper Bay some time during August of the summer before and that the entire crew of seven had been drowned.  He claimed that the natives had a large sum of money, supposed to have been taken from their bodies.”

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   61 31 55 N 166 05 30 W   Chart 16006

Source: Alaska File of the Revenue Cutter Service 1867-1915 (1966) Roll 9 Microcopy 641

MILOS REEFER (1989)     The 485 foot Greek refrigerated fish carrier Milos Reefer ran aground at Gloria of Russia Cape on St. Matthew Island November 14, 1989 with 27 crewmembers on board. All those aboard were transferred to a Polish ship which took them to Dutch Harbor. The Milos Reefer was owned by Transcontinental Maritime Trading of Piracus, Greece and had no cargo aboard at the time of the accident. She was carrying 258,000 gallons of fuel oil and 71,320 gallons of diesel oil and wrecked within the Bering Sea National Wildlife Refuge. 237,343 gallons of fuel and oil were reported to have leaked into the marine environment by November 28, 1989.

Mapping and Location: West Central Alaska   60 36 N 172 57 W   Chart 16006

Additional Information: ON 7003491, SL SZYL

Sources: 1. Sitka Sentinel (November 28, 1989) “Cargo Ship to Stay Aground ‘til Spring” Pg 1, 2. Sitka Sentinel (November 17, 1989) “Coast Guard Gets Set for Oil Cleanup” Pg 1, 3. Sitka Sentinel (November 15, 1989) “Bad Weather Slows Rescue of Crew from Grounded Ship” Pg 5, 4. USCG MISLE Case # 936707


MINERVA (1898)     The barge Minerva was lost at the mouth of the Kuskokwim River June 28, 1898.  She had departed Seattle May 31, 1898 being towed by the steamer Jessie along with a second unnamed steel barge.  There three vessels were lost in the turbulent waters outside the Kuskokwim River.   Also lost were the crews and miners from the Columbia Exploration Company that were aboard; a total of 18 souls.  One person, a trader called Ling, lived to tell the tale.  He brought word of the wreck to Saint Michael.  Many believed the surviving miners and crew were massacred by Indians who looted the wrecks.

Mapping and Location: West central Alaska   60 N 162 20 W   Chart 16006

Sources: 1. The H W McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (1966) Pg 42, 2. Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore (1992)

MOONLIGHT (1898)     The 71 ton schooner Moonlight ran aground on a small island 20 miles from the Kobuk River Mouth and was lost July 2, 1898.  It was reported that the captain refused to use Indian Guides as Pilots.  There were 42 passengers aboard bound for Kotzbue Sound from Seattle.  “Crew and prospectors built a small boat from lumber on board and continued prospecting.”  Much of the cargo of prospecting outfits, provisions and lumber was salvaged.

Mapping and Location:  West central Alaska   66 45 N 163 W   Chart 16005

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

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