The Wreck of the Steamer Mariechen

by John MacFarlane 2017


The Mariechen stranded in False Bay, Near Sitka AK. (Postcard photo from the John MacFarlane collection.)

On January 19, 1906 the German tramp steamer Mariechen under Captain Rudolph Heldt sailed from Puget Sound bound for Vladivostok where she was planning to run the Japanese Naval blockade. She had a crew of 50. She was carrying a cargo of 5,000 tons of general merchandise worth $100,000 under charter to Barneson, Hibbard & Co. The vessel herself was worth $250,000.

Off Cape Flattery she encountered a series of strong winter gales. A battering waves damaged a deadlight and the engineroom became flooded. The boiler fire was extinguished and the vessel was left without power.She drifted north while the crew bailed with buckets to keep her afloat.

Eventually she stranded and struck a rock in a snow storm January 25, 1906 in False Bay, south of Funter on Chichagof Island, Alaska near Sitka. The cargo was a total loss. The vessel was refloated by the B.C. Salvage Company and towed to Esquimalt BC.


The Mariechen at the Drydock at Esquimalt BC. (Postcard photo from the John MacFarlane collection.)

She was salvaged by the big salvage tug Salvor (owned by the B.C. Salvage Co.) and put in drydock for inspection and emergency repairs at Esquimlat BC.


The damage suffered by the Mariechen Resulting From Her Stranding (Postcard photo from the John MacFarlane collection.)

From Esquimalt she was moved on to Seattle where she sank in Elliott Bay on April 27, 1907. Her owners raised her and sent her immediately for scrapping.

The Mariechen was built in 1883 in Liverpool UK by Napier Shanks & Bell Yoker as the Clan Matheson. 289.6’ x 44.3’ x 25.2’ Steel hull 3917gt 2521rt In 1905 she was owned by Diederichsen, Jebson & Co , Hamburg Germany. In 1907 she was owned by William Piggott and W.D. Hoffus, Seattle WA USA who scrapped her after her sinking.

To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. (2017) The Wreck of the Steamer Mariechen. 2017.

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