Isthmian Lines
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S.S. Steel Navigator


 
Gross Tonnage:5,719Net:3,471
Dimensions:424' 2" x 56' 2" x 26' 5"MC Type:
 
Builder:Federal Shipbuilding Co.
Kearny, NJ
Hull #
USMC Hull #
Date of Build:
Delivered:
45

1921
Engines:2 Steam Turbines DR Geared to Single Screwed ShaftEngine Builder:Federal Shipbuilding Co.
Kearny, NJ
Navigation:GyCDecks, etc.:2 Decks, Fitted for Oil Fuel

Began Isthmian Service:1921Ended Isthmian Service:1942

----------------------------------- Vessel History -----------------------------------
Date
Vessel
#
Vessel
Name
Vessel
Owner
Call Ltrs
Home
Port
Flag
1921
221857
Steel NavigatorU.S. Steel Products Co.
New York
MDJC
New YorkUS
1931
221857
Steel NavigatorJuly: Isthmian Lines, Inc.
New York
MDJC
New YorkUS
1933
221857
Steel NavigatorIsthmian Lines, Inc.
New York
KDWL
New YorkUS

Events:


Disposition DateComments
194210/19 - On October 9th the vessel departed Liverpool, UK for New York in the 36 ship Convoy ON-137, Lars Jorgensen Master, with 2,000 tons sand ballast. On October 17, foggy weather and a fear of collision prompted the Master to drop out of the Convoy. The ship encountered a raging storm for 2 days, causing the sand ballast to shift and give the vessel a 40 degree list. Both the merchant and Navy gun crew shifted the ballast by hand for 2 days, reducing the list to 12 degrees. At 7:30 AM on the 19th, the third mate sighted the U-610 (von Freyberg) 400 yards off the starboard beam. After sounding the general alarm, the Master turned the ship so the submarine lay astern, and the gun crew fired 2 shots before the U-Boat disappeared. At 1:38 PM, position 49.20 N, 32.00 W, SE of Cape Farewell, while steaming at 10.5 knots, a torpedo struck between #1 and #2 holds. The vessel settled by the head and sunk in just 3 minutes. Immediately the Master ordered the 8 officers, 28 crewmen and 16 armed guards to abandon ship. The motor boat immediately swamped in the heavy seas. The #3 boat could not get away before the vessel plunged, capsizing and spilling 35 men into the water, 18 of which climbed onto a raft. The #2 boat cleared the ship and picked several survivors from the water. The crew of the U-610 questioned survivors before leaving the scene. Late that night survivors righted the #3 boat and redistributed, leaving 17 men in #3 and 10 men in #2. The boats remained in the vicinity until daylight as the storm continued, eventually separating. On the 26th, the Destroyer HMS Decoy (H-75) sighted the #3 boat with 16 survivors, 2 officers, 8 crewmen and 6 gun crew, 1 man having expired. The #2 boat was never found. A total of 6 officers, 20 crewmen and 10 armed guards died.



Photo courtesy of John Pitts 2010 - All rights reserved.

SS Steel Navigator Crewmen Lost
from the
American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial
South Harbor Blvd at West 6th St
San Pedro, CA 90731

"This striking memorial, the first national memorial to merchant seamen in the United States, was commissioned by a group of local seamen to honor merchant marine veterans from all wars. At the height of World War II, there were 215,000 merchant mariners, including many teenage boys too young to enlist in the military, and men classified as 4-F, yet caught up in the patriotic fervor that swept the country after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. According to official statistics, more than 6,795 civilian merchant seamen lost their lives in World War II for a causality rate of 1:32 (the highest casualty rate of any service); 600 were taken prisoner; and more than 650 of their ships were sunk. Unofficial statistics cite 8,651 merchant mariners killed at sea, 11,000 wounded, 1,100 died from their wounds ashore, 604 taken prisoner and 60 died in prison camps."





The information on this web site is the kind contribution of our Historian, Skip Lewis, 2003. Skip, whose dad sailed for Isthmian, is an avid collector and researcher of everything Isthmian and States Marine. In his quest, he has used many sources and publications including Lloyd's of London and Imperial Steel by John Atherton.

If you have any questions about, or information for, this website, please contact us.

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