Alaskan ghost ship for 40 years

ourang-medanThe Baychimo was launched in 1914 in Gothenburg, Sweden, for the Hamburg. After World War I, she was transferred to The Great Britain as part of Germany’s reparations for shipping losses and was acquired by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1921. Renamed Baychimo and based in Scotland she completed nine successful voyages along the north coast of Canada, visiting trading posts and collecting pelts. On October 1, 1931, at the end of a trading run and loaded with a cargo of fur, the Baychimo became trapped in pack ice. The crew briefly abandoned the ship, traveling over a half-mile of ice to the town of Barrow to take shelter for two days, but the ship had broken free of the ice by the time the crew returned. The ship became mired again on October 8, more thoroughly this time, and on October 15 the Hudson’s Bay Company sent aircraft to retrieve 22 of the crew; 15 men remained behind. Intending to wait out the winter if necessary, they constructed a wooden shelter some distance away. On November 24 a powerful blizzard struck, and after it abated there was no sign of the Baychimo. Her captain decided she must have broken up during the storm and been sunk. A few days later, however, an Inuit seal hunter told him that he had seen the Baychimo about 72¬†km away from their position. The crewmen tracked the ship down, but deciding she was unlikely to survive the winter, they removed the most valuable furs from the hold to transport by air. The Baychimo was abandoned.

Surprisingly, the Baychimo did not sink, and over the next few decades she was sighted numerous times. People managed to board her several times, but each time they were either unequipped to salvage her or were driven away by bad weather. The last recorded sighting was by a group of Inuit in 1969, 38 years after she was abandoned. She was stuck fast in the pack ice of the Beaufort Sea between Point Barrow and Icy Cape, in the the northwestern Alaskan coast. The Baychimo’s ultimate fate is unknown and she is now presumed sunk.