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San Juan Archipelago, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 650, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

27 January 2013

❖ WRECKS ❖ Ships I-M (14) ❖ ❖

WRECKS LOG ❖ ❖ Ships I-M.
Work in progress; update 4/2016

American barge, 1,110 t.
Blt. at Mare Is. Navy Yard in 1907 as a square-rigged steam aux. training ship for the U.S. Navy.
Decommissioned in 1921.
According to the photographer the boat wrecked 16 Feb. 1954.
North Beach, nr Long Beach, WA.
Square-Rigger and then a barge on the beach.
Postcards from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©

"A number of towed barges were lost during 1954. One of these, the INTREPID, was a clipper-bowed vessel of jaunty lines, her stranding resulting in a wide variety of romantic and imaginative reports as to her origin. This vessel was approaching the mouth of the Columbia R. in company with the oil barge NICHOLS I, both in tow of the tug TIDEWATER SHAVER, when the barges became unmanageable in heavy weather, dragging the tug toward Peacock Spit. The towlines were cut and the TIDEWATER SHAVER crossed the bar safely. The unmanned barges drifted ashore on Long Beach, WA. The graceful lines of the INTREPID made her a mecca for artists, photographers, and tourists. This 185' iron vessel was built at Mare Island Navy Yard in 1907 as a square-rigged steam auxiliary training ships for the U.S. Navy. She was decommissioned in 1921, her boiler being installed in the basement of the Matson Building in San Fran. and the hull going to Honolulu as a sludge barge, operated by the Hawaiian Dredging Co. In 1948 she was sold to the Independent Iron Works.
H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. Gordon Newell, Editor. Superior.

ON 219627
5,724 G.t. / 3,504 N.t.
410.5' x 54' x 27.1' blt 1920 S. San Francisco
Capt. Edgar L. Yates
Wrecked: Columbia River bar
12 January 1936
Lost: All hands.
The IOWA, 1936.
From the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
Peacock Spit claimed the freighter IOWA and her entire complement of 34 men, 12 January 1936. The tragedy was one of the blackest marks against the Columbia River bar.
      The vessel, owned by the States Steamship Co. was outbound from the river when a gale estimated to have had a velocity of 76-miles per hour, struck. The steamer crossed the bar shortly after midnight and fought against the gale until she was swept on Peacock Spit, early Sunday morning.
      Only one faint S.O.S. message emanated from the IOWA's wireless room, but that was enough to get the USCG cutter ONONDAGA underway. The cutter experienced the worst the bar could offer before it finally came in sight of the wreck. Only the IOWA's masts and samson posts were above the sea and all signs of life had vanished. Massive whirlpools swished around the grave of the ship.
      No survivors, no solution! Nobody will ever know the direct cause that led to the loss of the IOWA because dead men tell no tales. Competent authorities surmised that the vessel was caught broadside by the gale's fury and carried from her course in the main channel through loss of steerage, either by a damaged rudder or injury to her steering engine.
      The IOWA was commanded by Capt. Edgar L. Yates, veteran shipmaster, who was familiar with the Columbia bar, having piloted many ships across its reaches during his seafaring career.
      For days after the wreck, the beaches were strewn with oil smeared lumber, sacks of flour, rope, shingles, matches, and a hundred other items which had been loaded on Puget Sound and at Longview, her final port of departure. Among the wreckage, only six bodies were recovered.

ON 75966
Blt. 1877 Newburyport, MA., by J. Currier, Jr.
1,648 G.t; 1,494 N.t.
Wrecked: 17 April 1911 at Chignik, AK. 
Total loss.
Lost April 1911, Chignik, AK.
Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©

1907 bought by Columbia River Packers for salmon trade.
1910 sold for $13,000 for use as a tender for new cannery (CRP) at Unga.
The full-rigged ship sprang a leak in a violent gale off Chignik on the night of 17 April and was beached to save her cargo. Two other cannery ships at anchor with the HOWES were also blown ashore but were saved and later refloated. HOWES was a total loss.
H. W. McCurdy's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest.
Built in 1911 at Seattle.
For Pacific American Fisheries, Bellingham, WA.
Lost 7 July 1913, Lynn Canal, AK
Cannery Tender JACK HORNER
ON 208459
72' x 16.2' x 7.5'
While opposite Funter Bay, the tender, operated by
Pacific American Fisheries at Excursion Inlet,
took fire as a result of the engine's back-firing. The
ten men on board were transferred to the CONCORD.
The JACK HORNER was taken in tow & finally beached at
Point Howard. The vessel was destroyed but the fuel tanks
did not explode, only the water in the engine room burst.
This was one of the largest & best-equipped cannery tenders
in southeast AK.
AK Fishery & Fur-Seal Industries

a few years later.


O.N. 76169
Former Downeast sailing vessel
Blt. 1881 (from; US federal records)
Wrecked: 22 Oct. 1914,
Dall Patch Shoal, Milbanke Sound, B. C. 
Capt. H. A. Frieze
Wrecked in 1914, Milbanke Sound

Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
The JAMES DRUMMOND, southbound from Gypsum, AK with a full cargo of gypsum rock for Tacoma. She was in tow of the tug TATOOSH, which made an unsuccessful effort to refloat her, afterward removing the crew, except the captain, and proceeding with them to Puget Sound. Total loss.
      James Griffiths & Co sold her in 1910 to Alaska Barge Co with headquarters in Tacoma. The DRUMMOND was used in transporting cargoes of stone from Waldron Is. (San Juan County) to Grays Harbor jetty.
The H. W. McCurdy Marine History of the PNW.

ON 202687
Built in 1905 by Hall Brothers Yard, Winslow, WA.

The last coastwise lumber vessel built at that historic Puget Sound firm.
837 Gross Tons
521 Net Tons

181.0' x 39.4' x 13.4'
Required a crew of 8.
Signal letters: K.V.D.P.
Homeport of San Francisco, CA.
Lost 1934 at Cypress Point, CA. 

1912: Tugs couldn't get across the bar to help the schooner C.A. THAYER caught in violent seas and fog off Humboldt Bay; the J.B. STETSON succeeded in getting a line aboard and towed the THAYER safely to San Francisco. 

Sold by Pacific Mercantile Marine Co to the AB Johnson Lumber Co.
1927: USCG Revenue Cutter ALGONQUIN was removed from Astoria & sent for rum chasing duties in San Francisco. The following day the J.B. STETSON was dismasted and waterlogged off the Columbia River and barely made port under her own power.
1934: The stranding photo below is listed with her name spelled incorrectly. She was documented as J.B. STETSON.
Lost 3 Sept. 1934, Cypress Point, CA.
Crew saved.
Click image to enlarge.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
O.N. 76311
Blt 1882, by L. Mortenson and B. H. Hanson, 
San Francisco, CA.
107-t. wooden Schooner 107' x 30.6' x 9.'
Capt. M. G. Kelton, Oakland, CA. 

O.N. 76311

Photo by John Edward Thwaites (1863-1940)
who started his postal clerk position in 1898.

Original photo from the archives of S. P. H. S.©

Wrecked at East Anchor Cove, Ikatak Pt. on  Unimak Island, AK.
8 Jan. 1908.
Lost: 10 lives.
 The crew of the JOHN F. MILLER was attempting to salvage the 127-t cod schooner GLEN, which had wrecked in East Anchor Cove under similar conditions several months before. Both vessels were owned by Pacific States Trading Co. Survivors were picked up by boats from the fishing station after daylight. Lost were: Harry Hanson, Sweden, Pete Johnson, Norway, Samuel Smith, USA, Charles Stoppy, Finland, C. Flink, Finland, K. Lund of Norway, A. Cristensen, Norway, Gust. Holmlom, Finland, F. Wideken, Germany, C. Nelson, Denmark. The vessel was valued at $6,000 and was carrying a 220-t. cargo of salt and provisions valued at $4,000. All was lost. The insurance on the vessel was $1,500 and there was none of the cargo. Source of data: Alaska Shipwrecks/June 2013.

Owner: Alaska Steamship Co.
Capt. John Johnson
Wrecked: Hunter's Pt., Graham's Is., B.C.
8 Oct. 1923
Loss of life, none.
KENNECOTT, wrecked Graham's Island, B.C.
Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H.  S.©
Definitely not a joy ride--a crew member comes ashore in a bosun's chair rigged between the wreck of the KENNECOTT and the shore near Hunter's Point, B.C. The freighter, under Capt. John Johnson got off course and stranded en route from Cordova to Tacoma. The Canadian salvage steamer ALGERINE, rushing to the aid of the KENNECOTT, also got ashore on the rocks a few miles south of the scene but escaped with serious bottom damage. The 30-man crew of the KENNECOTT came ashore mostly by breeches buoy, and the ship soon broke in two, drifting away and sinking. Note the distress signal (burning drum of oil) on the fantail of the freighter. Captain Johnson committed suicide after being rescued.
Above text from the Disaster Log of Ships by James A. Gibbs, Jr. Superior.

Captain Johnson, noted for his cheery disposition, was much distressed at the misfortune and the $2,200,000 loss of his ship and her cargo. He was a skilled navigator, who had spent many years in the service of the Alaska Steamship Co.
There is a more personal, detailed account of this event written by R. H. Calkins in High Tide, Marine Digest Publishing Co, 1952. 

O.N. 161140
Capt. W. W. Williamson
Blt 1900 by Wolff & Zwicker, Portland, OR. for Alaska Packers Association (APA)
1,063 G.t. 610 N.t. -- 200.2' x 35.5' x 16'
Wrecked Sisters Rock, Finlayson Channel, BC
26 January 1941, en route from Seattle to Seward, AK.
KVICHAK (161140)
Wrecked Finlayson Channel, BC.
Photographer unknown.

Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
The steamship KVICHAK, converted to diesel power by the APA in 1930, ran hard aground on the rocky shores of Queen Charlotte Sound about 125-miles south of Prince Rupert on 27 January 1941, while under charter to the Navy for transport service to Alaskan bases. Her 23-passengers and part of her 38-man crew were taken off the Navy gunboat CHARLESTON, Capt. W. W. Williamson and a skeleton crew remaining aboard for a time. In subsequent salvage attempts by the Pacific Salvage Co of Victoria, the KVICHAK slipped off the rocks and sank in 90' of water. Despite this setback, work continued; she was finally beached at Prince Rupert in July, having been partially raised and brought to port suspended from four large scows by cables and still submerged to a depth of 35' while being moved. 
Above text from H. W. McCurdy's Marine History of the PNW; Gordon Newell, editor. Superior.

Quaker Line
Capt. Louis Johnson
Wrecked: 16 June 1929
Peacock Spit
Lost; Seaman Russell Smith
Original photo by Charlie Fitzpatrick.
From the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
The eyes and ears of the world were on a 'die-hard' shipmaster who refused to abandon his ship after it had broken in two and was given up as a total loss. His tenacity in remaining with his ship afforded front-page newspaper material, but his role as a hero angered the Coast Guard.
      It all came about in a howling southwester when the Quaker Line operated freighter LAUREL was outbound across the Columbia bar with 7 million ft of lumber destined for New York and Philadelphia.
      As the high seas buffeted the ship, the steering engine became disabled and she was swept on Peacock Spit. Mammoth breakers pounded the vessel unmercifully and calls of distress cracked over the wireless asking immediate assistance. 
      The Coast Guard managed to get a boat over the bar but it was unable to approach the stranded ship. The deck load had been carried overboard and the surf was a solid mass of lumber. In the early morning the steamship broke in two just forward the bridge and a 19-yr old seaman named Russell Smith was carried to his death. The 32 other crew members gathered on the aft half of the vessel to await rescue.
Some survivors of the LAUREL wreck,
taken off by US Coast Guard, when their ship broke in two
on a reef off the Columbia River.

Original photo © dated 2 July 1929

      Coast Guardsmen rescued all hands, with the exception of Capt. Louis Johnson, who refused to leave his ship despite pleas by the rescue crew. 
      From Cape 'D' a steady watch was maintained over the freighter as the crashing seas licked at her remains. Planes flew over the ship and snapped pictures of the skipper pacing the deck in defiance of the conquering elements. 

For 54-hours he remained on the bridge as another gale hammered the ship, placing his life in grave peril. As the swells rolled across the bar, the forward section of the wreck was carried fully 800' from the after half of the freighter.
      When hope was about to be abandoned for Johnson's life, a white flag suddenly appeared on the ship's bridge indicating that he was ready to come ashore.
      Several hours later the motor lifeboat fought its way to the side of the wreck, and the Captain, bearing the ship's papers, money, and a few personal belongings, slid down a manila rope to the rescue craft.
      Upon reaching shore Johnson was quizzed concerning his refusal to abandon the ship several hours earlier.
      'I didn't want to be a hero, I stayed on what was left of the ship to protect its cargo from salvagers. I had hoped that the after section of the ship would be washed on the beach so salvage would be possible, but the bulkheads gave away which prompted me to fly the white flag.'
      He had kept a fire going the entire time he was aboard the wreck and had sufficient food and water to last him indefinitely. 
      So ended the story of a ship master's vigil and the life of a freighter."
Text from; Pacific Graveyard. James A. Gibbs, Jr. 
Binfords & Mort, 1950

Blt. 1886, Astoria, OR.
Capt. Warren Waterman
Loss of life: one.
Near Ediz Hook, WA.
21 May 1946.
Undated, original photo by the Joe Williamson Salon.
Saltwater People Historical Archives©
Foss Craft Crushed in Heavy Fog

"One crew member was killed and the veteran tugboat MARTHA FOSS sank in the Strait of Juan de Fuca at 5:20 am today when the craft collided in heavy fog with the ferry steamship IROQUOIS of the Puget Sound Navigation Co.
      Nelson Henry Gillette, 51-years old, of Pt. Angeles, assistant engineer of the MARTHA FOSS, was injured fatally as the bow of the ferry steamship crushed the timbers of the wooden tugboat. Gillette was picked up in the water by a lifeboat from the IROQUOIS, but was dead when lifted aboard the ferry. 
      The MARTHA FOSS, under command of Capt. Warren Waterman, was en route from Pt. Angeles to Washington Harbor for a tow of logs. She sank a few minutes after the collision.
      Other members of the crew of the MARTHA FOSS were Jack Mix, mate; Joe Hagen, engineer; Stephen Spang, deckhand; Ray Calderman, deckhand, and F.A. Williams, cook. 
      The collision occurred six miles off Ediz Hook, as the tug was running light, the Coast Guard reported.
      The IROQUOIS struck the MARTHA FOSS amidships. 'Some of the men didn't even have time to grab lifebelts, it happened so quickly,' Dr. McFadden said. 'All were numb and exhausted from exposure in the water for from 15 minutes to half an hour.'
      Those who were not tossed overboard by the impact, leaped from the deck of the tug before the MARTHA FOSS split in two and sank.
      'We had to hold on to anything we could find and some of us swam up to the side of the IROQUOIS and clung there until we were rescued,' a crew member told Dr. McFadden.
      The 88' MARTHA FOSS was launched in Astoria, OR in 1886 and was one of the oldest vessels on the Pacific Coast. The Diesel-powered craft was rebuilt several times and was considered a staunch craft.
      The IROQUOIS, which operates between Seattle, Pt. Angeles, and Victoria, BC, was slightly damaged by the accident. She left Seattle at 11:45 last night."
Unknown Seattle newspaper.

Former names (ex-Hawaiian Standard; Roustabout, in USN service; Penaco.)
Crew of 35.
Capsized at her berth, with no one on board.
10 Sept. 1971
Fishermen's Terminal, Seattle, WA.
King-Crab Floating Cannery MERCATOR
capsized at Fishermen's Terminal, Seattle.
Sept. 1971.
Original photo from the archives of the Saltwater People Log©

A hugely costly accident to befall a vessel of the commercial fisheries fleet was the capsizing of the 214-ft crab processing vessel MERCATOR, which rolled at a 62-degree angle against the dock at Fishermen's Terminal, Seattle, as the vessel was fully loaded and about to depart for Alaska. Those on board were able to scramble to safety as the vessel went over. Pumps were used to remove more than 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel, which was captured inside floating booms, loaded into tank trucks and hauled away. Salvage diver Leiter Hockett and the Foss salvage crew, headed by Capt. Ben Stickland, were called in to pump out the ship, remove the cargo and right her. Deck cargo included logs, drums of oil, pickup trucks, crab-pots, and other material. Shortly after the MERCATOR rolled over and began taking on water, two explosions occurred in the bow section, caused by moisture reaching two 100-lb cardboard containers of chlorine crystals and generating hydrogen gas. Capt. Strickland and CG Lieutenant Forest Beale entered the vessel's forepeak to remove the three remaining containers of crystals by hand, an experience which Capt. Strickland conceded he would 'prefer not to live over.'
      Damage to the vessel was such that her owners, Pan Alaska Fisheries, sold her to Dave Updike of Northwest Towing and Salvage for $3,500. Total cost of damages to ship and cargo was estimated at more than a million dollars. The MERCATOR was built in 1925 as the diesel-electric tanker HAWAIIAN STANDARD.
H.W. McCurdy's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, (1966-1976.) Edited & signed by Newell, Gordon.
Floating King-crab Processor MERCATOR
Eleven years earlier in 1960 preparing
to depart Seattle for the Kodiak, AK area.
Captain Franklin Thomas and crew of 35.
Original photo from the archives of the
Saltwater People Historical Society©

1,984 t. German bark
Owned by H.H. Schmidt of Hamburg
North Spit of the Nehalem River, OR.
Capt. L. Westphal
Loss of life: 18.
German bark MIMI, lost 13-14 February 1913
Cropped Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
It all happened when Capt. L. Westphal mistook the Nehalem River for the Columbia River, 54 days out from Callao, in thick weather. She ran hard aground of the north spit of the Nehalem River. MIMI held her composure after hitting the sandy beach, and immediately salvage operations were undertaken. The salvage contract was awarded and work got underway with two four-ton anchors placed well offshore, and barges mounting steam donkey engines to pull the MIMI seaward with steel cables. Against the warnings of Capt. R. Farley, head of the Tillamook Bay Lifesaving Station, the salvagers removed the vessel's 1,300 tons of ballast. Starting at flood tide on 6 April, in the face of storm warnings, against the wishes of Farley, the vessel was inched toward the sea and ultimate disaster.
German bark MIMI
photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

      With 14 of the German crew aboard (three jumped ship in fear the night before,) and a number of wreckers, the tall MIMI was inched out through the breakers. Suddenly she began to roll severely and capsized trapping all aboard inside a steel coffin. Despite three unsuccessful runs by Farley's surfboat, the welter of wreckage and huge surf prevented him from reaching the vessel. Throughout the night a vigil was kept but the breakers mounted to 30-ft. Eighteen lives were lost, and only four saved, including Capt. Westphal, Capt. Fisher and two crew. Capt. Farley was unjustly blamed for cowardice by many onlookers.
Disaster Log of Ships. Gibbs, Jim; Bonanza. 

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