Unsinkable Ghost Ship

In the 1920s, the HBC was looking to expand its markets and sent a small group on the S.S. Baychimo to post-revolutionary Russia.

Written by Tanja Hütter

May 15, 2013

In the 1920s, the HBC was looking to expand its markets and sent a small group on the S.S.Baychimo to post-revolutionary Russia. In Kamchatka, Siberia, the traders met and exchanged goods with the Chukchi, a northern indigenous group. The Chukchi were so taken with the novelty of the HBC's ship that they carved this ivory reproduction. In 1931, the ship got caught in the ice off Barrow, Alaska, where it was unloaded and abandoned. It did not sink, however, and eventually became known as the “ghost ship of the Arctic” — with sightings of the Baychimo taking place every few years in various parts of the North. The last sighting was in 1969. In 2006, the Alaskan government began efforts to locate its final resting place, although to date its whereabouts are still unknown. To learn more about the Chukchi carvings and the SS Baychimo, watch the video

This article originally appeared in the June-July 2013 issue of Canada’s History magazine. 

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