|Builder:||Nylands Shipyards, Oslo, Norway|
|Fate:||Exploded and sank off Horse Islands in 1931|
|Tonnage:||310 gross register tons|
|Propulsion:||Sails, Diesel Engine|
SS Viking was a wooden-hulled sealing ship made famous by its role in the 1931 film The Viking . During her use in the seal hunt in Newfoundland, the ship was commissioned by the film crew. During production, an explosion destroyed the ship, resulting in the largest loss of life of a film production crew in film history.
The Viking, also known as White Thunder and Vikings of the Ice Field, is a 1931 Newfoundland/American adventure film about sealing directed by George Melford. This was "the first film to record sound and dialogue on location". It is best known for the explosion aboard the ship SS Viking during filming, in which many members of the crew, including producer Varick Frissell, were killed. It remains the incident with the largest loss of life in film history.
Newfoundland was a British dominion from 1907 to 1949. The dominion, situated in northeastern North America along the Atlantic coast, comprised the island of Newfoundland as well as Labrador on the continental mainland. Before attaining dominion status, Newfoundland was a British colony, self-governing from 1855.
In 1881, Viking was built by the Nylands Shipyard at Christiania, Norway, the same location where another famous Newfoundland vessel, Southern Cross, was constructed. Viking was a vessel of 310 gross tons and equipped with a 90 horsepower (67 kW) auxiliary engine. She was launched in 1882 from the Nylands Shipyard.[ citation needed ]
Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northwestern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.
SS Southern Cross was a steam-powered sealing vessel that operated primarily in Norway and Newfoundland and Labrador.
In 1904, Viking was purchased by Bowring Brothers [ not in citation given ] of St. John's for the sealing industry. She was placed under the command of Captain William Bartlett, who remained her master until 1923. Viking was the smallest of the Bowring Brothers' fleet, but was capable of carrying 276 men.
Bowring Brothers Ltd. was a Canadian operator of retail stores, mostly focused on gifts and home decor, throughout Canada.
St. John's is the capital and largest city of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the large Canadian island, Newfoundland. The city spans 446.04 square kilometres (172.22 sq mi) and is North America's easternmost city.
Viking sailed for a number of years hunting the saddleback seal off the coast of Greenland. In 1882, Norwegian explorer, scientist and diplomat Fridtjof Nansen used her for his first Arctic expedition.
The harp seal or saddleback seal,Pagophilus groenlandicus is a species of earless seal, or true seal, native to the northernmost Atlantic Ocean and Arctic Ocean. Originally in the genus Phoca with a number of other species, it was reclassified into the monotypic genus Pagophilus in 1844. In Latin, its scientific name translates to "ice-lover from Greenland," and its taxonomic synonym, Phoca groenlandica translates to "Greenlandic seal."
Greenland is an autonomous constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for more than a millennium. The majority of its residents are Inuit, whose ancestors began migrating from the Canadian mainland in the 13th century, gradually settling across the island.
Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen was a Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. In his youth he was a champion skier and ice skater. He led the team that made the first crossing of the Greenland interior in 1888, traversing the island on cross-country skis. He won international fame after reaching a record northern latitude of 86°14′ during his Fram expedition of 1893–1896. Although he retired from exploration after his return to Norway, his techniques of polar travel and his innovations in equipment and clothing influenced a generation of subsequent Arctic and Antarctic expeditions.
In 1930 and 1931, Viking was chartered by film producer Varick Frissell and Alexander Gustavus Penrod (the cinematographer of the film Down to the Sea in Ships ) to make a film of the annual seal hunt off the coast of Newfoundland. She was commanded by Captain Bob Bartlett, son of William Bartlett, and was featured in the final production. The film was premiered on March 5, 1931, at the Nickel Theatre in St. John's. Its producers felt, however, that it required more sensational footage, so both Frissell and Penrod returned to the ice fields soon after aboard Viking, this time with Captain Abram Kean.
Lewis Varick Frissell was an American documentary filmmaker. His last film, The Viking, set in Newfoundland, involved the largest loss of life of the film production crew in film history. This film was also "the first film to record sound and dialogue on location".
Down to the Sea in Ships is a 1922 American silent romantic drama film about a 19th-century Massachusetts whaling family. Directed by Elmer Clifton, the film stars William Walcott, Marguerite Courtot, and Clara Bow. The film's title comes from the Book of Psalms in the Bible,.
Newfoundland is a large Canadian island off the east coast of the North American mainland, and the most populous part of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It has 29 percent of the province's land area. The island is separated from the Labrador Peninsula by the Strait of Belle Isle and from Cape Breton Island by the Cabot Strait. It blocks the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River, creating the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the world's largest estuary. Newfoundland's nearest neighbour is the French overseas community of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.
On March 15, 1931, about eight miles (13 km) off Horse Islands, while stuck in the ice, Viking was rocked by an explosion that blew the stern off the vessel. Dynamite loaded on the vessel to add to the sensationalism of giant explosions of icebergs had somehow been set off, killing 28 of the 141 on board. The deaths included Frissell and Penrod.
Dynamite is an explosive made of nitroglycerin, sorbents and stabilizers. It was invented by the Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel in Geesthacht, and patented in 1867. It rapidly gained wide-scale use as a more powerful alternative to black powder.
An iceberg is a large piece of freshwater ice that has broken off a glacier or an ice shelf and is floating freely in open (salt) water. Another name for iceberg is "ice mountain". Small bits of disintegrating icebergs are called "growlers" or "bergy bits".
Viking caught fire and sank.The ship's loss was the first for Bowring Brothers in 52 years. Some of the survivors made the over-ice trek to the Horse Islands, while others were rescued by vessels dispatched to the area.
Despite the fatal accident, the film was completed and released in June 1931. The title was changed from White Thunder to The Viking . A French-language version, Ceux du Viking, was released in 1932.
Terra Nova was a whaler and polar expedition ship. She is best known for carrying the 1910 British Antarctic Expedition, Robert Falcon Scott's last expedition.
Robert "Bob" Abram Bartlett was a Newfoundland-born American Arctic explorer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The SS Newfoundland was a sealing ship involved in an event known as the "1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster". 78 sealers from the ship died due to the extreme weather conditions on March 30, 1914.
Seal hunting, or sealing, is the personal or commercial hunting of seals. Seal hunting is currently practiced in nine countries and one region of Denmark: United States, Canada, Namibia, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Finland, Sweden, and Greenland. Most of the world's seal hunting takes place in Canada and Greenland.
For the later United States Coast Guard cutter see USCGC Bear (WMEC-901)
Effie M. Morrissey was a schooner skippered by Robert Bartlett that made many scientific expeditions to the Arctic, sponsored by American museums, the Explorers Club and the National Geographic Society. She also helped survey the Arctic for the United States Government during World War II. She is currently designated by the United States Department of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark as part of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. She is the State Ship of Massachusetts.
SS Sagona was a passenger and freight ferry used by the Newfoundland government ferry service on its northern coastal routes between the island of Newfoundland and the coast of Labrador. Sagona was primarily a sealing vessel until 1938 bringing a total of 165,599 seals from 1912 until 1938 under captains Job Knee, Jack Randell, Lewis Little and Jacob Kean.
Horse Islands is the name of a resettled fishing community on one of the two islands that also bears its name, situated off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Horse Island was the scene of a terrific accident of a Hollywood movie gone awry.
Capt. Abram Kean was a controversial sealing captain and politician from Flowers Island, Newfoundland. He was famous for his success in sealing, with capturing over a million pelts, and infamous for his role in sending 78 men to their deaths in the 1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster.
Quidi Vidi is a neighbourhood in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. The neighbourhood is named for both Quidi Vidi Lake and Quidi Vidi Harbour - known locally as "The Gut". Located in Quidi Vidi is the Quidi Vidi Battery Provincial Historic Site, which had significance as a battery during the War of 1812. The village is also home to Newfoundland's largest microbrewery, the Quidi Vidi Brewing Company. It has many different types of plants and animals. There are numerous scenic places to visit.
Anchor Point is a town located in St. Barbe Bay, south of Flower's Cove on the west side of the Great Northern Peninsula, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It was the first English settlement on what is called the 'French Shore' of Newfoundland.
SS Florizel, a passenger liner, was the flagship of the Bowring Brothers' Red Cross Line of steamships and one of the first ships in the world specifically designed to navigate icy waters. During her last voyage, from St. John's to Halifax and on to New York City, she sank after striking a reef at Horn Head Point, near Cappahayden, Newfoundland, with the loss of 94 including Betty Munn, a three-year-old girl, in whose memory a statue of Peter Pan was erected at Bowring Park in St. John's.
Louise Huntington was a stage and screen actress appearing on Broadway in the 1920s and on screen in the 1930s.
CSS Acadia is a former hydrographic surveying and oceanographic research ship of the Hydrographic Survey of Canada and its successor the Canadian Hydrographic Service.
Flower's Island is one of the communities that comprise an area on the northeast coast of the Island of Newfoundland, called Bonavista North. These communities have a shared history in that they were settled by people from England, predominantly from the West Country—Dorset, Devon Somerset and Hampshire.
Canada's 2008 annual commercial seal hunt in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and around Newfoundland, Quebec and Nova Scotia began on March 28. The hunting season lasts from mid-November to mid-May, but the hunt mainly occurs in March and April. Canada's seal hunt is the world's largest hunt for marine mammals.
William Jackman was a Newfoundland sealing captain and sailing master.