Experts are “reasonably certain” that the legendary U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear has been found off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. This comes after almost two decades of searching for the missing military ship that served in both World Wars.
The vessel sank back in 1963 approximately 260 miles (418 kilometers) east of Boston, Massachusetts, while it was being towed to Philadelphia. The plan was to turn the ship into a floating museum and restaurant.
The wreckage was initially discovered off the Canadian coast in 2019 – approximately 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia – and now that the evidence has been analyzed, experts have recently revealed that they are “reasonably certain” that the ship is in fact the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear. This new information was released last week by officials from the Coast Guard as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The United States government bought the 190-foot Bear in 1884 and used it that same year as part of the rescue fleet for the Greely Expedition in the Arctic which was able to rescue the few expedition members who survived. The steam and sail-powered ship was then used as a Revenue Cutter where it patrolled the Arctic for 41 years. It conducted search and rescue operations; recorded astronomical and geological information; recorded tides; conducted censuses of ships and people; conducted law enforcement operations; and escorted whaling ships.
William Thiesen, who is the Coast Guard Atlantic Area’s official historian, went into further details about the incredible missions the Bear was involved in, “During Bear’s 40-year career in Alaska, the cutter performed some of the most daring and successful Arctic rescues in history,” adding, “And when malnourished Native Americans needed food, Bear brought it. When stranded whalers needed rescue, Bear saved them. One hundred years ago when thousands of Alaskans contracted the Spanish flu during the pandemic, Bear brought doctors and medicine.”
Then in 1915, the Bear joined forces with the U.S. Life-Saving Service as part of the Coast Guard. It was involved in both World Wars which included patrolling the waters around Greenland during WWII and aided in capturing a German spy vessel. The ship was decommissioned in 1944 and stayed in Nova Scotia until 1963 when it sank on its way to Philadelphia. “Apparently, her old timbers were no longer strong enough to withstand the vicious battering of the North Atlantic,” the Coast Guard stated.
Considered to be one of the most historically important ships in the history of the United States and the Coast Guard, it is hugely significant that the wreckage has presumably been found.
A news report showing the found wreckage can be viewed here.
By Jocelyne LeBlanc