Cape Pankof, Unimak Island

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Cape Pankof, Unimak Island

by | Jun 24, 2020

Cape Pankof is a point of land on the southeast tip of the lkatan Peninsula on the southeast coast of Unimak Island, 148 miles (239 km) northeast of Dutch Harbor and 18 miles (29 km) southeast of False Pass, Alaska. The Russian name was first published in 1847 as “Pankof’s Cape” by the Russian Hydrographic Department. Unimak Island is about 67 miles (108 km) long and 22 miles (35 km) wide, and part of the Fox Island group in the Eastern Aleutians. The Aleut name was recorded by Captain James Cook in 1785 as “Oonemak”.

The SS Oduna was a steel steamship of 422 feet (129 m) built in 1944 by the New England Shipbuilding Corporation in South Portland, Maine. Originally named the Francia A. Retka, she was a Liberty ship type EC-S-C1, built for the United States Maritime Commission. Between 1947 and 1964 she was sold several times and finally owned by the Alaska Steamship Company, renamed Oduna, and modified to carry shipping containers.

The SS Oduna was wrecked on November 26, 1965, at Cape Pankof, Unimak Island. The vessel stranded in heavy seas on the southeast shoreline of the island when the radar aboard became inoperative and strong currents swept her onto the rocks. The Chief Mate was at the helm when the accident occurred and was blamed for the stranding. The crew was removed by breeches buoy and helicopter to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Storis and tug Adeline Foss. Initially, her cargo was thought to be lost, but a salvage effort was organized to save much of what was on board, including 200,000 pounds (90,718 kg) of frozen crab in refrigerated container vans. Read more here and here. Explore more of Cape Pankof and Unimak Island here:

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