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USS Thetis on 4 June 1884
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Design Sealer, 1881
Displacement (tons): 723 gross, 1,250 displ.
Dimensions (feet): 166.0' pp x 30.25' x 18.0' mn
Original Armament: 1-53mm Hotch. (1887)
Later armaments: --
Speed (kts.): 7.55
Propulsion (HP): 530
||2 Feb 84
||Alex Stephen & Sons
||13 Jan 81
||ca Feb 84
||ca Jul 97
||ca Mar 99
||18 Oct 99
In January 1881 the shipyard of Alex Stephen & Sons at Dundee, Scotland, launched the sealer and whaler THETIS for its own account. She was purchased by the Navy Department on 2 February at Dundee, Scotland, to search for the survivors of Lieutenant Adolphus W. Greeley's Arctic Expedition to Lady Franklin Bay. She arrived at New York on 23 Mar 84, sailed from New York on 1 May 84 under the command of Cdr. Winfield S. Schley, and discovered the survivors of the expedition near Cape Sable on 22 Jun 84. She landed them at Portsmouth, N.H. on 1 Aug 84. Besides THETIS the Greely Relief Expedition included the whaler BEAR (see AG-29), the steamer ALERT which had been loaned by the British, and the collier LOCH GARRY. THETIS was decommissioned at New York on 26 Nov 84. Her overall length may have been 188.5 feet.
Following the expedition THETIS was to be sold off, as was her consort BEAR, but was retained due to the personal intervention of the Secretary of the Navy. She remained out of commission at the New York Navy Yard until 15 Jan 87 when she was commissioned for service in the Pacific on special service, primarily on surveying duty. She was again decommissioned and placed in ordinary at Mare Island in July 1897 and was rated as unfit for sea in 1898.
On 6 Mar 99 THETIS was transferred to the Treasury Department under an Act of Congress of 3 Mar 99 for use in a mission that the revenue cutter BEAR had carried out since 1890, transporting reindeer from Siberia to Alaska to provide Alaskan Eskimos with a year-round supply of food. She was stricken from the Navy List around the time of this transfer to the Treasury Department. She was returned to the Navy on 11 Oct 99 with a request that she be loaned to the Revenue Cutter Service for an indefinite period, a request that was granted on 18 Oct 99. THETIS served primarily on the Bering Sea Patrol until being decommissioned at San Francisco on 30 Apr 16. On 3 June, she was sold to W. & S. Job & Co. of New York. She then worked out of Newfoundland as a sealer until March 1936, when she was damaged in heavy ice, returned to St. John's, and was beached at nearby Freshwater Bay. Her hull was broken up in 1950 for firewood.
||Ex merc. THETIS. Revenue cutter THETIS 1899, merc. THETIS 1916, hulked 1936, broken up 1950.
Compiled: 01 Jan 2013
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2013