Phoenix was the first Russian-American Company ship built in Russian America (roughly equivalent to today's Alaska). James George Shields, a British mariner in the employ of the Russian Navy, directed her construction, using mainly local materials. The boat was three-masted, 90 feet long, with a burthen of 180 tons (bm). The ship was named after the Phoenix, a trading vessel involved in the sea otter trade. In turn, she was the namesake of Phoenix Bay on Afognak Island. She was lost in a storm in 1799, a sinking that claimed the life of Joasaph Bolotov, first Bishop of Kodiak.