The SS Baychimo is a unique ship because for decades it was considered to be a “ghost ship.” The ship was built in 1914 and was used by the Hudson’s Bay Company to trade provisions for pelts with the Inuit settlements that were found along the Victoria Island coast of Canada. The company acquired the ship in 1921 and it accomplished nine successful voyages up and down the north coast of Canada. She did have some trouble in 1928 when she ran aground off Pole Island in Camden Bay which is located on the north coast of Alaska. However, she was refloated the following day.
Problems arose on October 1st, 1931 the ship was ending a trading run when it was trapped by encroaching ice. The crew left the ship and traveled over the ice for just half a mile in order to reach the town of Barrow. There they rested for two days before returning to the ship. When the men went back to the SS Baychimo they found that the ship had broken free and they were able to board.
Unfortunately, just a few days later on October 8th, the ship was stuck again and this time Hudson’s Bay Company had to send a plane to rescue the crew on October 15th. 15 men decided to stay with the ship and wait out the winter if necessary in order to be able to sail the cargo of expensive furs home. Bad luck struck again when a blizzard hit on November 24th. The men who had built a wooden shelter on the ice, emerged after the storm to find the Baychimo gone. They found the ship, with the help of an Inuit seal hunter who had seen it, 45 miles away. The men removed the most valuable of the furs and abandoned the boat.
For more than 3 decades the boat did not sink but would be randomly sighted by people over the years. Some would manage to board her but none were able to salvage the wreckage. The last sighting occurred in 1969 when the ship was stuck in the pack ice of the Beaufort Sea. The ultimate fate of the ship is unknown whether it sank or still drifts, it has yet to be found. In 2006 the Alaskan government began a project to find the “Ghost Ship of the Arctic” to learn what happened to her, but they have yet to find her.