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S.S. Steelmaker


 
Gross Tonnage:6,176Net:3,802
Dimensions:395' 5" x 55' 0" x 31' 4"MC Type:1037
 
Builder:Federal Shipbuilding Co.
Kearny, NJ
Hull #
USMC Hull #
Date of Build:
Delivered:
32

1920
1/20
Engines:2 Steam Turbines DR Geared to Single Screwed ShaftEngine Builder:Midwest Engine Co.
Indianapolis, IN
Navigation:GyCDecks, etc.:1 Deck(Stl), Shelter Deck(Stl) & Web Frames & Longitudinal Framing, Fitted for Oil Fuel

Began Isthmian Service:1920Ended Isthmian Service:1942

----------------------------------- Vessel History -----------------------------------
Date
Vessel
#
Vessel
Name
Vessel
Owner
Call Ltrs
Home
Port
Flag
1920
219513
SteelmakerU.S. Steel Products Co.
New York
LVKD
New YorkUS
1930
219513
SteelmakerAugust: Isthmian Lines, Inc.
New York
LVKD
New YorkUS
1933
219513
SteelmakerIsthmian Lines, Inc.
New York
KOXX
New YorkUS

Events:
1/31/20: Departs on maiden voyage for Vancouver with cargo of steel under the command of Capt. George Wright and John Van Sneiden, Jr., Chief Mate.

Disposition DateComments
19424/19 - The vessel sailed from New York to Abadan, Iran via Capetown, South Africa. At 10:32 PM the ship, with 7,660 tons war supplies, steaming an 11 knot zigzag course was attacked at 33.05 N, 70.36 W, about 350 miles East of Wilmington, NC, by U-654 (Forster) who fired two torpedoes. The first missed; the second striking the port side in the #5 after cargo hold, ripping a large hole in the side spewing cargo and wreckage into the water. The Master, Leonard Duks, stopped the vessel and ordered the ship abandoned. The vessel sunk in 15 minutes. The 9 officers, 28 crewman, 9 armed guards and 1 passenger escaped in 2 lifeboats in less than 10 minutes. The U-654 surfaced after the ship sank and questioned the Master concerning the ship name, tonnage, destination and cargo. A U-Boat officer stated, "I am sorry to have to sink you and do this to you, but this is war. You will be rescued, do not worry, I shall send your position out by radio." The following day, 4/20, the 2 lifeboats redistributed their load. On 4/22, the USS ROWAN (DD-405) rescued 18 survivors, including 5 armed guards in one boat, landing them in Norfolk. On 4/29 the British SS PACIFIC EXPORTER picked up 27 additional survivors off Frying Pan Shoals, later transferring them to a Coast Guard boat that landed at Morehead City, NC. The radio operator managed to grasp onto a raft as the vessel sank and, by combining the emergency supplies of several rafts, he survived for 29 days until being picked up by a rescue craft. Only the steward died in the attack.




Copy of clipping courtesy of Anne Wheelock 2012 - All rights reserved.



Photo courtesy of David Boone - Marine Artist 2004 - All rights reserved.


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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