Marine Heritage Database

Bear - 1963

Ship Type

Typical Profile

Tonnage

1700

Length(ft)

190.4

Breadth(ft)

29.9

Depth(ft)

18.8

Masts

3

Decks

Hull

Wood

Shipwreck Details

Description

BEAR was built for Walter Grieve & Co. of Greenock, Scotland for use in the Arctic seal fishery. After ten years in this trade BEAR was purchased in 1884 in Saint John's by the United States government to be used as a rescue vessel for the Greely Expedition trapped in Northern Greenland. After a largely successful rescue BEAR was purchased by the United States Revenue Cutter Service (later absorbed by the United States Coast Guard) in 1885 and worked along the Alaska coastline until 1926. She then became a museum ship in Oakland, California. In 1932 Admiral Byrd purchased BEAR and used her for two Antarctic expeditions. During the early stages of the Second World War the United States Navy used BEAR as a patrol ship in the waters around Greenland and while there, she made the first US naval capture when she apprehended the German ship BUSKO. After the war BEAR was purchased by a Montreal businessman with the intent of reconverting her back into a sealing vessel. The plan never came to pass and BEAR sat in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia until 1962 when (after being purchased by an American businessman) she sank off Cape Sable while under tow to Philadelphia.

Story

She foundered while being towed by IRVING BIRCH after the tow line parted. The small crew were safely rescued by the tug. After a long and colourful career in sealing, arctic patrol and exploration, BEAR was headed to Philadelphia to become a floating restaurant and was full of nautical antiques for the decor of her intended new use.

Vessel Type

Barquentine

Type of Event

Total Loss

Nature of Event

Foundered

Cause of Event

Leak

Date of Wreck

1963-03-19

Location

Approximately 100 miles south of Cape Sable Island.

Cargo

Lives Lost

Voyage from

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia , Canada

Voyage to

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania , United States

Remarks

Ship Construction

Built at

Dundee, Scotland

Date

Official Number

66840

Registered at

Date

Propulsion

Sail and Steam

Rig

Barquentine

Details

Keel, frames and planking were oak. Deck was teak. Planking was reinforced with Australian Ironwood. Fastenings were Swedish iron. Fore and mizzenmast were Norway pine, the mainmast iron. Bow was re-enforced with steel plating and additional internal bracing.

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Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

Original Data Design by Katherine Riordan, Computers for People

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Comments to: Maritime Museum of the Atlanic      / Last updated on 2007-10-05

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