SKytteren factory ship & Skudd 1-5 whalers

Bill Forster
28th September 2008, 18:59
My father left EAGLE OIL in December 1929 three months after the Wall Street crash (sounds familiar?) and the only job he could get was as an engineer on a 250 ton Antarctic whaler.

From photographs in the family album I have identified the whale catcher as SKUDD (one of five, SKUDD 1 - 5) and the factory ship as SKYTTEREN (ex SUEVIC). They were owned by Hvalfangerisk Skytteren A/S (managed by Hvistendahl, Sörle & Co.), a company set up by a group of Tonsberg harpoon gunners, hence her name Skytteren, ‘The Gunner’. Skudd, is Norwegian for ‘gunshot’.

Can anybody provide more information about the Tonsberg gunners, their company and their ships?

And can anybody tell me whether it was normal for factory ships to operate within the Antarctic ice pack, see attached photograph of Skytteren with “Our first view of the factory ship 20 miles inside the ice pack” written on the reverse.

Lloyds Casualty Reports have the following entry for SKYTERREN in 1930:

"Oslo Feb 20: Oil refinery Skytteren, owing to boiler damage, has had to suspend operations and she left for Table Bay yesterday for repairs. It is not know whether she will return to the whaling ground after repairing or come home. – “Norges Handels og Sjofartstidande”.

Cape Town, Mar. 3: Norwegian steamer Skytteren arrived with plain and stay boiler tubes of all boilers badly defective. Surveyors recommend temporary repairs, vessel to proceed home for permanent repairs.

Frederilsstad April 7: Norwegian oil refinery Skytteren arrived here with leaky tanks. Maritime declaration will be held tomorrow. Understand bulk cargo and hull insured London. Am communicating with leading Norwegian Underwriters Tonsbergsjoe."

Could SKYTTEREN have been trapped within the ice pack by engine failure?

Or would it have been normal for it to operate within the ice pack?

Bill Forster

29th September 2008, 10:13
Here's Yngvar Hvistendahl's ships on Lardex Net: Lardex Net is generally a good site for Norwegian whaling:
"Hvalfangerisk" is not a Norwegian word; the only sensible thing I can think of is that "Whaling Company," which is "Hvalfanger Selskap," has been shortened to "Hvalfanger Sk." - "Whaling Co." Regards, Stein.

Bill Forster
30th September 2008, 16:49
Thank you very much for this, Stein.

There is a great photo of SKUDD on the site which I would love to use in the account of my father's life which I intend to publish.

I shall register for the site but my lack of Norwegian (thank you for correcting my error) may be a handicap.

Would you care to comment on SKYTTEREN being "twenty mlles within the ice pack" in my father's photograph? Would this be normal?

And do you know where the whale catchers were laid up at the end of the season?

I am attaching a photo of SKUDD 1 plus blue whale taken by my father in Feb 1930.


30th September 2008, 17:54
I'm sorry Bill, about whaling I know next to nothing, and at the moment I haven't any contact with people who does know either. On this page of a site that translates into something like "The East-Country Old Whalers Club" there's the name of it's editor, Erik Leinster, at the bottom; clicking on his name will give you his E-mail adress. Hopefully he has some command of English and can help you. That's all I can suggest at the moment. Regards, Stein.

Bill Forster
30th September 2008, 18:35
Thanks, Stein.

Have e-mailed him & hope he can help.

Curiously, my father's next ship, a tanker called MV SPONDILUS, took him back to Antarctica (according to Lloyds VOYAGE RECORD CARDS for SPONDILUS in 1931) presumably with fuel oil for the factory ships & their whalers and to offload their whale so that they could remain in the whale fishery for longer.

But I am hoping somebody can confirm that this was common practice at the time.


1st October 2008, 19:01
Hi Bill. We seem to have a member named Braighe with some whaling experience, as can be seen by the postings beneath this photo: Also member Oystein says he's done some whaling, underneath this picture: If you have no luck with your E-mail, maybe one of those two can give you some answers. Regards, Stein

Bill Forster
6th October 2008, 14:46
I have also posted an enquiry on the Norwegian site you mentioned at:

and e-mailed RHIW who posted a response to the similar thread about HECTOR WHALE CATCHERS on shipsnostalgia.

Am keeping my fingers crossed that I shall learn more!