Roman shipwreck

Nature of Casualty

Crushed between grounded floe and moving pack ice. Vessel sank less than an our after being carried off by ice. Crew escaped over 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 next day, September 1, it began to blow out the southwest. It was a light wind, but enough to set the ice in motion. The Roman, northernmost of the fleet, was anchored off Point Franklin, protected by a piece of ice and cutting in a "stinker," a decomposing whale. The southwest wind began to raise the water level, as it does on that coast. (On the northwest coast of Arctic Alaska the tidal range is only about half a foot; winds have far greater effect on the height of the water, westerlies raise it and easterlies lower it.) Soon the Roman was naked, her protective ice floes having drifted north in the current. The men moved her behind another grounded floe. They moored here [sic] there in fifty-two feet of water, but the current soon broke that floe apart and at 11 A.M. the drift ice drove in with such force that it not only stove in her stern but it went right under the hull, raising the ship, driving her over and stoving in her whole side. The crew worked frantically. They lowered her three port boats onto the ice and dragged them out of the way as her spars fell. Forty minutes after the first contact, only a little of the ship was left above the ice. Bockstoce, John R., Whales, Ice, and Men: The History of Whaling in the Western Arctic, University of Washington Press, Seattle Washington, 1986:154-155 NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program: West Coast Region Research Provide

Official Number: 21702

Type: Bark (Formerly Ship-rigged)

Length: 108 Feet

Home Port: New Bedford, MA

Place Built: New Bedford, MA

Date Lost: Sept, 1, 1871

Captain When Lost: Jared Jernegan

Where: Sea Horse Islands, Off Point Franklin

Cause: Trapped in Ice and Crushed

Cargo: 640 Barrels of Whale Oil