Do you enjoy a nice, creepy story about ghosts? What about the ones inspired by real facts? Those are really terrifying, indeed. However, things change dramatically when the main protagonist of the story is an ENTIRE ship wandering the oceans. This kind of ghost-ships inspired legends and even appeared in some pretty well-known movies. Want to find out more about one of the most recent ghost-ships? Check out this story!
20. What Is A Ghost Ship?
First of all, we have to establish that a ghost ship is not a cursed entity roaming the ocean. A ghost ship is also known as a phantom ship and it is a vessel with no living crew aboard. A perfect example of a ghost ship is the Flying Dutchman, the legendary vessel that can never make port.
19. SS Baychimo
Now, back to our protagonist ghost ship: SS Baychimo. SS Baychimo was built in the First World War period (1914) under the name of Angermanelfven, built by the Lindholmens shipyard in Sweden. The Swedish ship was powered by a triple expansion steam engine and reached the approximate speed of 19 km/h.
18. Cargo Ship
SS Baychimo was mainly used on trading routes between Hamburg and Sweden until the First World War. After World War I, it was transferred to the United Kingdom as part of Germany’s reparations for shipping losses. In 1921, it was acquired by Hudson’s Bay Company.
17. Trading Goods
And that’s how the ship got its name of SS Baychimo. The vessel was now based in Ardrossan, Scotland. Its new mission was collection fur pelts which were then used in exchange for sugar, tea, tobacco and weapons. The ship completed a total of nine successful voyages of this sort along the north coast of Canada.
For the next ten years, Baychimo’s voyages went smoothly, maintaining the Scotland-Canada routes and delivering important supplies. However, things were about to change for the worse went the cold season arrived earlier that year.
15. Getting Stuck
Right on 1 October 1931, at the end of a trading run and fully loaded with fur pelts, Baychimo became trapped in pack ice. Pack ice is usually formed by wind and currents that pile up the ice to form ridges that can reach several meters in height. This kind of pack ice is a challenge even for icebreaker ships.
14. Abandon Ship!
Realizing the unfortunate circumstance they were caught in, the crew members decided to temporarily abandon the ship. They traveled more than a half-mile of ice to the town of Barrow, Alaska where they found shelter and some warmth.
13. Breaking Free
By the time the crew returned to the ship, SS Baychimo managed to set itself free from the ice and drifted away. They managed to get a glimpse of the ship only after a whole week, on 8th of October. Were they ever going to retrieve the ship and complete their mission?
12. Saving The Crew
On 15th of October, the Hudson’s Bay Company decided to send an aircraft and retrieve their crew, 22 in total. However, 15 men remained behind intending to wait out the winter and resume their mission. The ship couldn’t have gone too far, right?
11. Gone Forever?
The dedicated crew members even built a wooden shelter some distance away, just to make sure they’d be ready. However, on 24th of November, a powerful blizzard struck and after it ended, there was no sign of the SS Baychimo ship. The captain assumed that the ship must have broken up during the storm been sunk.
10. Sighted Again
The crew members and the captain lost hope of seeing the SS Baychimo ever again. However, a few days later, an Inuit seal hunter told the captain that he had seen the ship about 45 mi (72 km) from their position. So, they started heading that way and planning their next move.
9. Saying Goodbye
So, the crewmen made the journey and reached the ship. However, the vessel was in pretty bad shape after the powerful storm and the captain decided to leave it, but not before they removed the most valuable furs, which were later transported by air. Baychimo was abandoned.
8. All Alone
So, the abandoned ship remained in the Arctic waters, sailing all by itself and without a crew or captain. Surprisingly, the ship did not sink, on the contrary, it was sighted multiple times over the next few decades. Some people even tried to board the ship several times.
The ship’s life as a ghost vessel started in 1931 and for the next 40 years, Baychimo was sighted around 12 times! The following year, in March, the ship was seen floating peacefully near the shore by a man, Leslie Melvin, who was traveling to Nome accompanied by his dog sled team.
6. More Witnesses
A few months after the last sighting, the ship was seen again by a company of prospectors, explorers looking for mineral deposits. After that, Baychimo was boarded in August 1932 by a 20-man Alaskan trading party off Wainwright, Alaska.
5. Not Losing Its Usefulness
A year passed with no sighting of the abandoned ship. That until March 1933, when it was found by a group of Alaskan Natives during a blizzard. The men needed shelter and boarded the ship in order to protect themselves. They were trapped there for 10 days!
4. Other News
In August 1933, the Hudson’s Bay Company found out that the ship was still afloat, but was too far a-sea to salvage. A year later, in July, it was boarded by a group of explorers. Baychimo kept drifting away when it was sighted again off Alaska’s northern coast.
3. More Attempts
Another brave attempt at salvaging the ship was made by Captain Hugh Polson in November 1939. Unfortunately, the ridges of ices made the challenge impossible, so the captain abandoned it as well.
2. Last Sighting
After the failed attempt, the ship was seen floating alone without a crew numerous times, but was never captured. In March 1962, Baychimo was seen drifting alone the Beaufort Sea coast by a group of Inuit. Seven years later, it was found frozen in an ice pack, 38 years after it was abandoned. That was the last recorded sighting of the Baychimo.
1. Future Plans
Back in 2006, the Alaskan government started working on a project in order to solve the mystery surrounding “The Ghost Ship of the Arctic” and locate Baychimo. Sadly, the ship has not yet been found. Maybe you will be the next to encounter the ghost ship floating through ice…