Whitefish Point, MI –
Lake Superior claims many a ship into its depths. Her tendency of turbulence and frigid waters is quite a combination when it comes to the survival of a vessel and her crew. Superior is a bit of an outlier when it comes to shipwrecks in the Great Lakes. She is said to be the owner of over 500 wrecks. This harrowed mistress is the deepest of all Great Lakes, and is the largest lake (by surface area) in the world. It is no wonder that there are more lost wrecks in Lake Superior than found. That is why it is so exciting to uncover a lost artifact in Great Lakes maritime history!
Released today, February 12th, 2024, The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS) along with shipwreck researcher Dan Fountain made a huge discovery! The 244-foot bulk carrier, S.S. Arlington, was found 600 feet down 35 miles off the Keweenaw Peninsula. This was quite a remote ship to find, but Dan Fountain initially discovered something out of the ordinary with remote sensing data. Later, after notifying the GLSHS for aide, a combined crew embarked on a journey to know for sure. “Side-scan sonar” technology was used by the team to confirm it was a shipwreck. Using a ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle), the shipwreck was positively confirmed as the S.S. Arlington. With a deepest depth of 1332 feet, the ship being found at around 600 feet is incredible. Imagine all of the lost wrecks in Superior’s deepest depths. After all, shipping lanes tend to run right over Lake Superior’s deepest abyss.
See what Dan Fountain had to say:
“It’s exciting to solve just one more of Lake Superior’s many mysteries. Finding Arlington so far out in the lake, I hope this final chapter in her story can provide some measure of closure to the family of Captain Burke.”
Read the story of the Arlington taken from the GLSHS press release below:
“On April 30th, 1940, the Arlington left Port Arthur, Ontario fully loaded with wheat en route Owen Sound, Ontario. She was under command of Captain Fredrick “Tatey Bug” Burke, a seasoned veteran of the lakes. Dense fog greeted the Arlington and a larger freighter, the Collingwood, as they made their way across Lake Superior. As the day turned to night the fog turned into a storm and battered both ships. The Arlington started to take on water. The Arlington’s first mate, Junis Macksey, ordered a course to hug the Canadian North Shore, which would have provided some cover from wind and waves, but Captain Burke countermanded the order…and ordered his ship back on its course across the open lake. On May 1st at around 4:30am Chief Engineer, Fred Gilbert, sounded the alarm, as the Arlington started to sink. Out of fear for their lives, and without orders from Captain Burke, the crew began to abandon ship on their own. Luckily, everyone safely got off the Arlington and made it to the safety of the Collingwood…everyone but Captain “Tatey Bug” Burke. An investigation, and much speculation followed the sinking of the Arlington and the odd behavior of its master.
Why did he go down with his ship…when he easily could have been saved like the rest of his crew? The fact is no one will ever know the answer. Reports indicate that he was near the pilothouse of his ship and waved at the Collingwood minutes before his ship went to the deep, 650-feet to the bottom of Lake Superior”
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