San Francisco (#243764) (1943-1949), 78-foot wood-hulled purse seiner burned to the waterline near Anacapa Island on October 31, 1949.
According to one diver, the wreck sits in 130' of water just south of Admiral's Reef. The hull, presumably wood, is long gone. What remain are a prop shaft, compressed air tanks, assorted debris, and a large marine diesel engine, about half of which appears to have blown apart:
“The story I have heard in conversation with other long time divers is that sport divers stumbled across the wreck sometime in the 1960s, and that a brass plate was recovered bearing the word "Barbee" which is how the wreck came to be known by that name. While there is no vessel named Barbee in any of the MVUS loss entries, there was a marine supply and boat building company called Barbee Marine Yards at Renton, Washington in the mid 1940s. A number of glass bottles were also brought up, partially melted from the heat of what must have been an intense fire. I have not personally seen the plate or the bottles, but trust the source of that information. I have done a little research, looking at MVUS loss entries and newspaper collections, and believe the Barbee wreck may actually be the remains of the seiner San Francisco. The evidence is largely circumstantial without a key identifying feature such as a build plate to confirm the identity, but I believe the location and condition of the wreck in question is fair match for that vessel.”
In the News~
November 1, 1949 [Santa Cruz Sentinel]: “Tug Burns to Waterline. Long Beach, Nov. 1 — The fishing vessel San Francisco burned to the waterline early today off the southern California coast but all nine crewmen were saved. The tug, Pacific Rocket, on her maiden voyage from San Francisco to Long Beach rescued the crew of the fishing craft. Capt. Bailey McCune, skipper of the Pacific Rocket, radioed to the Coast Guard that his ship was standing by and expected the San Francisco to sink momentarily. Capt. McCune said there would be no Coast Guard help needed unless the burned ship became a menage to navigation. There were no details as to the cause of the fire aboard the San Francisco. The burned ship is one of the largest purse seiners operating out of the San Pedro sardine fleet. In the 86 to 90 foot class, its worth is estimated at about $200,000. It burned five miles off Point Hueneme, about a mile off the west end of Anacapa Island.”
November 1, 1949 [LAT]: “Nine Rescued From Flaming Fishing Boat. Nine persons aboard a flaming fishing vessel were rescued last night five miles off the coast near Point Hueneme, the Coast Guard reported. The craft was the San Francisco, which caught fire a mile off the west end of Anacapa Island. A dispatch to the Long Beach Coast Guard from another fishing vessel said the victims were taken aboard the fishing boat Pacific Rocket.
December 1, 1949 [Long Beach Independent]: “Wreckage towed in. Santa Barbara —. Wreckage of the fishing vessel City of San Francisco, wrecked and abandoned last summer off Anacapa Island, was towed to Santa Barbara Harbor by the Coast Guard Wednesday.”