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Whalers Bay sits within Deception Island, which is itself part of the South Shetland Islands. The bay served as the base for various whaling companies. The first of these ships was the Gobernador Bories, skippered by Captain Adolfus Andresen of the Chilean Sociedad Ballenera de Magallens, in 1906. An on-shore station was built within Whalers Bay in 1912 and operated until 1931, when advances in on-ship processing of whales couples with a decline in the value of whale oil made shore stations for processing whale carcasses uneconomic.
A cemetery was established at Whalers Bay when it was in use as for on-shore processing of whale carcasses. The cemetery held the remains of 35 or more whalers who died during their service in the whaling industry. It also held a memorial to 10 whalers who were lost at sea. Deception Island remains an active volcano, and the cemetery was buried in a volcanic eruption in 1969. Most of the cemetery was buried in that eruption. Most grave sites and the memorial were lost. As of February 2014, only two graves were clearly marked by crosses, with one of these markers being legible.
The site of the cemetery and its environs were designated Historic Site or Monument number 71 (HSM-71) as a result of a proposal by Chile and Norway in keeping with an Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting.