SS Vega (1872)

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SS Vega.jpg
The Vega, painting by Jacob Hägg
Name: SS Vega
Port of registry: Sweden
Launched: 1872, in Bremerhaven
Owner: Ferguson
Port of registry: Dundee, Scotland
Acquired: 1903
Out of service: 1903
Fate: Missing in Melville Bay, Greenland
General characteristics
Class and type: Steamship
Length: 150 ft.
Propulsion: Sails, 70 hp auxiliary steam engine
Sail plan: Barque
Capacity: 357 DWT

SS Vega was a Swedish barque, built in Bremerhaven Germany in 1872. She was the first ship to complete a voyage through the Northeast Passage, and the first vessel to circumnavigate the Eurasian continent, during the Vega expedition.


Though being a sailing ship she had a 60 hp auxiliary steam engine. The hull was of wood measuring 150 ft. in length (45.72 m), a capacity of 357 DWT.

Arctic exploration[edit]

Constructed as a whaler, the vessel was acquired and rebuilt for Arctic exploration by Nils Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld with financial assistance from King Oscar II of Sweden and others.[1][2] On 22 June 1878 the ship set out from Karlskrona, Sweden through the Northeast Passage around the north coast of Eurasia. Blocked by ice on 28 September of that year only 120 miles (200 km) short of the Bering Strait marking the eastern end of Asia, the ship was not freed until 18 July 1879. Two days later East Cape was passed, and Vega became the first ship to complete a voyage through the Northeast Passage.[1] Returning by way of the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Suez Canal,[3] Vega also became the first vessel to circumnavigate the Eurasian continent.

Whaling and sealing[edit]

After the expedition Vega returned to her original trades of whaling and seal hunting. The ship was reported sunk in Melville Bay west of Greenland in 1903, sailing under the Scottish owner Ferguson of Dundee.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Baker, W.A.; Tryckare, Tre (1965), The Engine Powered Vessel, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, p. 81
  2. ^ Aho, Marie, A.E. Nordenskiöld Collection included in the Unesco Memory of the World Program, Tietolinja News (National Library of Finland), January 1999
  3. ^ Liukkonen, Petri. "Baron Nils A(dolf) E(rik) Nordenskiöld". Books and Writers ( Finland: Kuusankoski Public Library. Archived from the original on 25 March 2010.

External links[edit]

Media related to Vega (ship, 1872) at Wikimedia Commons