SS Baychimo The Ghost Ship of The Arctic

SS Baychimo, a ghost ship which was sighted along the Alaska coast, being abandoned in 1931. 38 years after SS Baychimo was abandoned, in 1969, she was found frozen in a pack of ice. However, when a salvage party came to investigate the 1969 report of the Baychimo in ice, it had mysteriously vanished by the time anyone arrived. No one has seen it since and there was no trace of wreckage ever found. 

In 1914 SS Baychimo, a steel-hulled cargo steamer with weight of 1,322 ton was constructed in Sweden. It was first launched in 1914 under the name of Ångermanelfven (Yard No 420) by the Lindholmens shipyard (Lindholmens Mekaniska Verkstad A/B) in Gothenburg, Sweden, for the Baltische Reederei GmbH of Hamburg. It has 70.1 m long, and powered by a triple expansion steam engine with average speed of 12 mph.
After World War I, she was transferred to Great Britain as part of Germany's reparations for shipping losses and was acquired by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1921 and rename it as Baychimo. Hudson's Bay Company, the last owner of SS Baychimo was based in Ardrossan, Scotland and use it to trade provisions for pelts in Inuit settlements along the Victoria Island coast of the Northwest Territories of Canada.

SS Baychimo (1931)

Since her first launched until 1931, SS Baychimo and her crew has completed 9 successful journeys to and from Alaska and British Columbia along the north coast of Canada, visiting trading posts and collecting pelts.

Her luck run out on October 1, 1931 when she became trapped in a pack of ice. At that time, SS Baychimo was on a routine transport run to Vancouver and loaded with a cargo of valuable fur. The ship and its crew were tossed about by icy blasts of wind and gripped by freezing temperatures, yet they pressed on, determined to deliver their precious cargo. Suddenly they caught in blizzard as they pushed on through the ominous weather. The ship trapped in ice, and, the captain ordered the crew to quickly abandoned the ship. They 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 they returned. The crew decided to wait until they could retrieve the ship, and built a camp out on the ice nearby where they could keep an eye on it.

On October 15, with the blizzard continuing to pound their camp, The Hudson Bay Company took action and sent a recue party to evacuate the crew from their imperiled camp by aircraft. Even though 22 of the crew were rescued, the captain and 14 crew members refused to abandon their ship and its cargo, and decided to remain camped out on the ice.

A few days later, however, an Inuit seal hunter told him that he had seen the Baychimo about 72 km away from their position. They managed to remove the most valuable furs from the hold to transport by air and then the Baychimo was completely abandoned.
However, 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 the bad weather. In 2006, the Alaskan government began work on a project to solve the mystery of "the Ghost Ship of the Arctic" and locate the Baychimo, whether still afloat or on the ocean floor. Until now, she has not been found yet.


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1 comment

Unknown said...

Great story. Heard about this several times in the last 10 years or so. But to me whats odd is its sighted several times in a few years and then vanishes for 20 then comes back and then vanishes again. How can it be hidden throughout WWII? Awesome mystery.

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