comet shipwreck

Nature of Casualty

Crushed between grounded floe and moving pack ice. Tornfelt, Evert E., Burwell, Michael, Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore, U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Alaska OCS Region, 1992

The five northernmost ships, the Roman, Comet, Concordia, Gay Head, and George, were completely surrounded. Slightly to the south the John Wells, Massachusetts, Contest, J. D. Thompson, Henry Taber, Fanny, Monticello, and Elizabeth Swift were not as tightly gripped... The Comet of Honolulu, the ship nearest the Roman, was the next to go. At one the next morning "she was pinched until her timbers snapped and the stern was forced out and hung suspended for three or four days. "When Captain Packard of the Henry Taber saw the Comet's ensign at half mast he went to her in his boats to offer assistance. He found Captain da Silva and his crew abandoning ship. Captain Knowles of the George Howland bought the entire ship and cargo for thirteen dollars. Bockstoce, John R., Whales, Ice, and Men: The History of Whaling in the Western Arctic, University of Washington Press, Seattle Washington, 1986:154-155

On the 2d September the brig Comet was crushed in the heavy ice; her crew were taken on board the other ships and cared for. In now became evident that the ice was setting on shore very heavily, the open strip of water became narrower every day, and no possible chance to get out. Still no one thought there would be any difficulty of getting out the first north-east gale. On the 8th of September the bark Awashonks was crushed between the heavy floe and aboard the other ships. New York Times 11-14-1871

Official Number: N/A

Type: Brig

Length: 142 Feet

Home Port: Honolulu, HI

Place Built: N/A

Date Lost: Sept. 2, 1871

Captain When Lost: Joseph D. Sylvia

Where: Between Pint Franklin and Seahorse Islands

Cause: Grounded and Crushed by Ice

Cargo: 30 Barrels of Whale Oil