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Built as a wooden hulled seal catcher by the yard of Erik Linstøls Båtbyggeri at Risor, Norway for Andr. Ingebrigtsen, Høvik near Oslo.
Launched under the name FOCA I (fishery No. K-13-K)
Tonnage 204 ton gross, 126 net, dim. 111.4 x 24.9 x 14ft. (draught)
Powered by 2-cyl. steam engines of 17nhp.
March 1921 sold to Sir Ernest Shackleton after he made a short visit to Norway, she was renamed QUEST.
Shackleton would use the vessel for his expedition to the Antarctic, but she was not so suitable for the voyage, small and straight stemmed, with an awkward square rig on her mainmast. He engines were too weak, and her boilers found at sea cracked. In all ports of call she needed repairs.
17 September 1921 she sailed from the St Katharine’s Dock in London under command of Capt. Worsley.
The QUEST made calls at Lisbon, Madeira, Cape Verde and Rio de Janeiro, at Rio de Janeiro Shackleton did have a heart attack, but when the ships doctor Macklin want to make an examination, he refused, but the doctor could see that he had a heart problem.
After sailing from Rio de Janeiro bound for South Georgia, Shackleton mentally changed he seemed unnaturally listless, always the leader and full of ideas, now he had not any plans and it seemed that he had turned to the past.
04 January 1922 she arrived off South Georgia and anchored off the whaling station of Grytviken.
Early in the morning of 5 January Dr. Macklin was called to Shackleton bunk and he found him with an other heart attack, not much he could do and a few minutes later Shackleton died.
(On this expedition Shackleton was appointed an Agent of the Post Master General for this expedition, and provided with one hundred pounds worth of British postage stamps, a circular date stamp and a trio of rectangular hand-stamps of a size to fit over a pair of stamps, for three of the countries they were expected to visit; namely Tristan da Cunha, Cough Island and Enderby Land.) as given in Log Book 1983 Vol 13 page 311.
After Shackleton death, his body was send back to England for burial, but when his wife Emily got the message of his death, she decided that her husband should be buried on South Georgia.
After arrival of Shackleton’s body at Montevideo, it was send back to South Georgia. And there his body was laid to rest on 05 March 1922 in the Norwegian cemetery.
After Shackleton died, the QUEST carried on, under Wild’s command, but he was not a leader and without Shackleton he was lost, he started drinking heavily; he had never done before on sea.
Before the QUEST sailed home in June, Wild took her to Elephant Island.
16 September 1922 she arrived in Portsmouth.
1923 Sold to to W.G Oliffe, Cowes.
March 1924 sold to Schjelderups Sælfangstrederi A/S ( Capt. Thomas Schjelderup), Skånland Bø (fishery No N-94-BN). In use as a seal catcher in the Arctic, and probably as fishing vessel in between catching seasons.
1929 Took part in the search for Amundsen and Major Gilbaud who disappeared in a hydroplane in the Arctic, while searching for General Nobile and the aircrew of the airship ITALIA.
1930/31 Deployed by H.G. Watkins in the British Air Route Expedition, the QUEST surveyed some coastal waters of Greenland
1935 Chosen to transport the Anglo-Danish expedition of Lawrence Wager and Augustine Courtauld, to Greenland, a summer expedition based at Kangerlussuag, Greenland. The QUEST returned from Kangerlussuaq on 29 August 1935, she left 7 expedition members behind who were to continue work.
1936/37 Count Gaston Micard chartered the QUEST, under command of Capt. Ludolf Schelderup, for an expedition to East Greenland; the expedition overwintered at the mouth of Loch Fyne (74N).
During the overwintering the crew of the QUEST caught 162 fox.
End July 1937 the QUEST returned to Europe making calls at Scoresbysund and Ammassalik.
January 1939 sold to Skips-A/S Quest (Ivar Austad, Tromsø) (fishery No T-24-T.
A 4-cyl 2tv Wichmann diesel engine was installed, 350 bhp.
Still used as a seal catcher, and probably in regular fishing in between seasons.
When war broke out in Norway in April 1940 she was catching seals near New Foundland, and she came under Notraship control.
Upon hearing of the German invasion in Norway she proceeded to St John’s.
November 1940 hired by the Royal Navy, as a minesweeper in the West Indies/Caribbean.
July 1941 handed back to Notraship.
March 1942 she was scheduled for convoy SC 76 from Halifax, but she did not sail.
April 1942 requisitioned by Den Konglige Norske Marine (Royal Norwegian Navy). Intended for use in Operation “Fritham 2” at Spitsbergen, Svalbard in May that year, but this was cancelled.
Then she shows up in convoy SC 83 which sails from Halifax in May 1942.
September 1942 returned to Nortraship.
21 June 1943 hired by the Royal Navy as water carrier, till 1945.
10 October 1945 laid up.
19 July 1946 returned to owner.
05 May 1962 while catching seal off the north coast of Labrador, she sprang a leak and sank due to ice.
The crew was rescued by the Norwegian seal catchers NORVARG, POLARFART, POLARSIRKEL and KVITFJELL.
Ascension 1972 4 and 4½p sg 160/1, scott 161/2
South Georgia 1972 20p sg 35, scott 34
Tristan da Cunha 1971 1½p sg 149, scott 153.
Source: Mostly copied from http://www.warsailors.com/freefleet/norfleetpq.html Shackleton by Roland Huntford. Ships of the Royal Navy Vol. II by Colledge. Log Book. Some other web-sites.