Abandonment of the Whalers In The Arctic Ocean

The Whaling Disaster of 1871 was an incident off the northern Alaskan coast in which a fleet of 33 American whaling ships were trapped in the Arctic ice in late 1871 and subsequently abandoned. It dealt a serious blow to the American whaling industry, already in decline.The painting "Abandonment of the Whalers In The Arctic Ocean September 1871" depicts several of the US whaling ships involved in the Chukchi Sea disaster. By August the vessels were near Wainwright before a stationary high pressure weather system reversed the normal wind pattern and pushed the pack ice toward the Alaskan coast. Seven ships were able to escape to the south, but 33 others were trapped. By mid-September all 1,219 people aboard the ships evacuated in small whaleboats with a three-month supply of provisions, crossed 70 miles (110 km) of ocean, and were eventually brought to safety by the seven ships which had escaped the ice. Wreckage from several ships was recently found near the village of Wainwright. Read more here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore the Chukchi Sea coast where many of the ships washed ashore.