Crew Searches for Shipwreck off Alaskan Coast

A crew of eight people sailed out of Wrangell Alaska in early May in search of a shipwreck that went down over a hundred years ago. The Star of Bengal was a 270-foot cannery vessel that went down in 1908, killing over 100 people. Most of the people on board were workers from China, Japan, and the Philippines.  The company that built the massive vessel in 1874, Harland & Wolff Industries, also crafted another famously doomed ship--the Titanic.

Thirty years ago, Gig Decker was diving for the non-profit company Southeast Preservation Divers, when he came across an anchor chain 70 feet underwater. He was fairly certain it was the wreck of the Bengal. Now with 3D mapping and advancements in technology he is hoping they can map the wreck and find the entrance.

The crew includes Gig Decker himself and a marine archeologist to help positively identify the wreck. There is also a remote sensing specialist and researcher to help with the potential discovery. The goal of the crew is not just to find and document the shipwreck but its also to correct the historical record as to what actually happened when the ship went down and perhaps even find out why.

Photo: The Wrangell Museum