The barque Patria was in 1896 bought by Lieutenant Adrien de Gerlache de Gomery from Belgium, and with sponsoring from Geographical Royal Society in Brussel an expedition was launched to explore the polar areas around Antarctic. One of the 19 crew members was Roald Amundsen. The expedition almost ended in a catastrophe when they were stuck after the ice locked them up 10. March 1898. After a long and hard winter they managed to liberate the ship after working on a channel through the ice to the open water, and then set course back home. Scientifically this was a success expedition, and they manage to map a lot of the coastline in Antarctic. What became of Belgica after the return to Norway is unclear, but in April 1940 some information is available. When the Germans invaded Norway in April 1940, she was requisitioned by the British forces, and was anchored up in Brurvika outside Harstad. While she laid there, loaded with ammunition, Harstad city was attacked by the German luftwaffe. Belgica was damaged by bombs that fell in the vicinity, tho not hit directly. She developed a leak and sank a while later. The remains of her and an unknown barge were found in 1990, and both these wrecks rest today on a depth of 12 to 20 meter in Brurvika. Her anchor is exhibited in the polar museum of Tromsø.

Former names:
Patria 32,0 x 6,5 x ? m
Tons: Built: Home Port:
336 grt Svelvik ( N ) 1884  ( N )

68° 47' 25" N, 16° 36' 12" E

Picture: Belgica
Wikipedia, Public domain

Last updated: August 2019