Superior Straits Shipwreck Lower Mainland

This vessel originated as a World War II naval netlayer.  She was launched by the Barbour Boat Works of New Bern, North Carolina, on August 19, 1943.

The Bitterbush-class netlayer was a peculiar-looking craft with a long, heavy ramp angled over the bow.  She was an early diesel-electric design.   Twin diesel engines powered two generators that fed a single electric motor.

Converting her to civilian work required substantial changes.  Registry papers described the result as a wooden motor-screw, 175.5 feet long, 36.5 feet across, and 19.3 feet deep, displacing 1175 tons.

In 1970 the ageing ship was cut down to a barge.  Her superstructure, power plants, propeller, ballast tanks, and mast were removed.

The vessel apparently sand circa 1972.  Tugboat crews know about the wreck but no one seems to recollect the cause.  One skipper speculated that she either just filled or a tug hit her too hard and opened a seam.  No one got around to striking her from the register until 2006.

For more information on the Superior Straits and other shipwrecks on the Lower Mainland, go to: UASBC.Com. You can order the publication Historic Shipwrecks of the Lower Mainland from the Underwater Archaeological Society of British Columbia publications.

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