Isthmian Lines
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S.S. Steel Recorder


 
Gross Tonnage:8,095Net:4,653
Dimensions:492' 0" x 69' 7" x 29' 5"MC Type:C3-S-A2
 
Builder:Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp.
Pascagoula, MS
Hull #
USMC Hull #
Date of Build:
Delivered:
335
430
1943
9/30/43
Engines:2 Steam Turbines DR Geared to Single Screwed ShaftEngine Builder:Westinghouse Electric & Mfg. Co.
Pittsburgh, PA
Navigation:DF, ESD, GC, RDR, RTDecks, etc.:2 Decks & Open Shelter Deck

Began Isthmian Service:1947Ended Isthmian Service:1969

----------------------------------- Vessel History -----------------------------------
Date
Vessel
#
Vessel
Name
Vessel
Owner
Call Ltrs
Home
Port
Flag
1943
APA 46
USS KnoxUS Navy, as Combat Loaded Transport
 
 US
1946
 
USS KnoxUS Maritime Commission
 
 US
1947
251847
Steel RecorderIsthmian Lines, Inc.
New York
KTYW
New YorkUS
1969
251847
Constitution StateStates Marine Lines, Inc.
New York
KTYW
New YorkUS

Events:
2/1/43: Classified APA-46, originally classified AP-91.
3/4/43: Keel laid.
7/17/43: Launched, sponsored by Mrs. R.K. Forde.
9/30/43: Acquired by U.S. Navy and placed in ferry commission until 10/14/43 during transfer to Bethelem Steel Corp., Brooklyn, NY, for conversion.
3/4/44: Commissioned, Cmdr. John K. Brady in command.
3/14/46: Decommissioned at Mobile, AL, receiving 5 Battle Stars.
5/1/46: Struck from U.S. Navy list.
5/14/46: Transferred to U.S. Maritime Commission.
1946: Conversion contract awarded to Gulf Shipbuilding Corp., Mobile, AL, at a cost of $533,194.
1947: Sold to Isthmian Lines.
12/30/48: At New York loading for New Orleans, fire in sulphur cargo in #4 Hold; extinguished by New York firemen.
4/17/49: On voyage Calcutta to Mobile while berthing at Port Said, collided with moored motor tanker KATRINE MAERSK, voyage P. de Bouc to Persian Gulf, and MV NEW CALEDONIA, voyage Karachi to Glasgow; plate and bulwark damage to all vessels.
5/49: Heavy weather damage to plates and tanks; repair cost $5,614.
9/49: During routine inspection, shaft found fractured; repair cost $15,400.
12/16/49: Propeller struck by barge, prop out of pitch. Remove, fit spare and recondition damaged prop at New York.
3/10/50: Master of SS HELLENIC CHRYSSOULA, from Alexandria, complained that STEEL RECORDER, voyage Galveston for Calcutta, improperly passed him from left to right, hitting his vessel portside forward. Greek ship's stem was crushed and anchor lost, at a cost of $12,500. STEEL RECORDER had 23 feet of starboard plates fractured, stanchion and other damage.
8/30/50: On voyage Baltimore to Port Swettenham with military cargo, 3 miles outside Hong Kong harbor outbound for Saigon at 1120, fired upon by two unidentified motor junks causing superficial shell fragment damage. Vessel returned to Hong Kong.
8/31/50: Departed Hong Kong.
10/30/50: Aground at New York; plate and internals damaged. Renew 2 plates, partially renew internals and fair, steam, clean and test tanks at Baltimore.
3/20/51: Aground at New York, plate and internals damaged. Straighten 3 shell plates, fair and internals, steam, clean ans test tanks at Baltimore.
11/28 - 12/1/52: Heavy weather, voyage Singapore for New York. Partially renew 1 shell plate, weld deck plate and fair 1 cargo boom at Baltimore.
4/24/53: Struck pier.
11/8/53: Alleged crew negligence.
12/15/53: From alleged crew negligence 11/8/53, remove, partially renew and refit #3 port boom, resister house platings fair and ventilator fair, renew chain rail and stanchions together with sundry damages; repairs at Baltimore.
9/54: Alleged damage by stevedores.
10/13/54: From alleged stevedore damage in September, straighten and partially renew frames, stiffeners, piping, brackets, renew 17 hatch boards, together with sundry damages; repairs at Houston.
11/8/54: Discovered rudder carrier bearing damage, due to alleged crew negligence.
2/1/55: Struck pier.
5/23/55: Grounded and struck dock.
8/23/55: From rudder damage 11/8/54, disassemble steering gear and reassemble, remachine rudder carrier, crosshead and bearing ring, examine rudder, together with sundry damages; drydocking and repairs at Baltimore.
4/2/56: From grounding 5/23/55, rudder repair, stern frame vee out and weld reinforce, 1 propeller blade repair, 2 fairwater plates renew, together with sundry damages; repairs and drydocking at Galveston.
10/10/56: From striking pier 4/24/53, 2 shell plates partially renew, frames, beams and brackets straighten and partially renew, together with sundry damages. From striking pier 2/1/55, 1 shell plate partially renew and 2 fair, frames, brackets and beams straighten and partially renew, together with sundry damages. From striking dock 5/23/55, 3 shell plates fair, frames straighten, together with sundry damages. All repairs at Newport News.
7/17/57: Struck submerged object while on voyage from Savannah to Gulfport.
10/10/57: From damage 7/17/57, 2 bottom plates renew, 3 partially renew and 4 fair, floors and bulkheads straighten and partially renew, double bottom tanks steam, clean and test, together with sundry damages; repairs deferred.
3/1/58: Grounded at Chalna anchorage from 2:14 PM to 9:39 PM local time; no apparent damage reported.
3/5/58: Vessel left Chalna for Calcutta.
6/30/58: From striking submerged object 7/17/57, 2 bottom shell plates renew, 3 partially renew and 4 fair, floors straighten and partially renew, double bottom tanks steam, clean and test, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs completed at Galveston.
8/3/60: From Bahrein, STEEL RECORDER, Houston for Bombay, aground at Jazirat Farsi in lat. 27 59 N, long. 50 10 E. at 7:30 PM GMT. Owners authorize Master engage salvage tug on "no cure no pay" basis. Tug SCHELDE proceeded casualty. Salvage vessel SALVIGIL expected to proceed at 10 AM GMT 8/4/60.
8/4/60: The London Agents of the owners of the tug SCHELDE have received the following message: Tug SCHELDE arrived at position of steamer STEEL RECORDER this morning and will make attempt to refloat at high water, 4:30 PM, local time. Vessel ran ashore at 16.5 knots and lacks 3 ft. of water. If attempts to refloat are unsuccessful, SCHELDE will bring out beach gear. The owners of the tug are endeavoring to charter a coaster to lighten the vessel if necessary.
8/5/60: From Bahrein, tug SCHELDE reports STEEL RECORDER hard aground. Original draughts forward 15 ft. 6 in., aft 21 ft. 6 in., presently forward 12 ft., aft 18 ft., port side full length 21 ft. Lloyd's Open Form signal with Master of SCHELDE. Colthoff, Smit's salvage superintendent, proceeding with motor vessel TYLOS and two gangs of labor for lightening ship, expected to arrive at STEEL RECORDER daylight 8/6/60. Salvage steamer SALVIGIL left Bahrein at 5 PM 8/4/60 with intention to stand by if required. Tug SCHELDE brought out two of her salvage anchors. MV TYLOS alongside, presumably starting to take over cargo now.
8/6/60: STEEL RECORDER apparently undamaged. Morning attempt no movement, started discharge from No. 5 hold into MV TYLOS; next attempt tomorrow.
8/7/60: Master of tug SCHELDE reported at 3:35 AM GMT: Vessel refloated, no apparent damage. Discharged 138 tons of cargo being loaded on the spot. Understand present intention vessel proceeds to Ras Tanura for bunkers.
8/8/60: STEEL RECORDER arrived at Ras Tanura and left same day for Bombay. From Bahrein, Smit's Salvage Superintendent, Colthoff, reports vessel refloated at 7:16 AM 8/7 and proceeded Ras Tanura for bunkers and seaworthy survey by American Bureau of Shipping representative. Colthoff states no setting up visible in forward tanks, no leakage, bilges dry, no apparent damage to engines or vessel either due to stranding or refloating. 138 tons of cotton and rice discharged and reloaded with nil other than normal handling damage.
9/22/60: From New York, from damage sustained in stranding at Jazirat Farsi, Persian Gulf, 8/3/60: Fifteen bottom plates renew, three partially renew, floors, keelsons and bulkheads straighten and partially renew, tailshaft draw for examination, stern bush rewood, turbines open for examination and close, line shaft bearings examine, sea valves and strainers overhaul, clean and coat, double bottom tanks steam, clean and test, together with sundry damages and removals.
1/12/62: From San Francisco, steamer STEEL RECORDER, Baltimore for Penang, grounded at the entrance to the Naval Supply Center, Alameda in morning; endeavoring to refloat on high water at 5 PM.
1/13/62: STEEL RECORDER still aground Alameda with 8,500 tons of general cargo on board. Seven thousand barrels of fuel oil already discharged. Owners discharging general cargo into barges; expect complete 1/16/62, when endeavor to refloat with assistance of tugs. Surveyor in attendance.
1/16/62: Steamer STEEL RECORDER: Draught prior to stranding 25 ft. forward, 28 ft. aft. Present soundings high water 18 ft. forward, 19 ft. aft, amidships 17 ft., low water variable. Total cargo on board approximately 8,800 tons general. Intend discharge 2,500 tons and expect complete 1/17 - 1/18/62, when attempt to refloat at high water. Thereafter vessel ordered to drydock by U.S Coast Guard at Bethlehem shipyard. No contract, tugs engaged on hourly basis.
1/17/62: Steamer STEEL RECORDER refloated at 7:45 AM; discharged approximately 1,560 long tons of cargo.
1/22/62: From San Francisco, STEEL RECORDER left for Subic Bay.
4/27/63: STEEL RECORDER, Philadelphia for Penang, arrived Manila.
4/29/63: From Manila, chemical fire in No. 5 hatch commenced at 10:30 PM.
5/3/63: Fire in No. 5 hatch still burning; surveyor in attendance.
5/4/63: Fire out.
5/9/63: Cargo snap-top steel drums, size 16" by 27", containing sodium hydrosulphite, stowed in No. 5 starboard shelter deck forward. Believe cause of fire atmospheric heat at ship's side and weather deck, with consequent mass overheating, resulting in voluminous sulphur dioxide gas condition operating adjacent 2,000 cartons of D.D.T., causing fire and excessive gas. Condition brought under control by smothering with sand and dry cement through 31 5" diameter openings cut in weather deck. Damage to vessel minor consisting of partial damage to electric cables, negligable buckling to the plating, approximately 20 hatchboards burned and entire paintwork No. 5 shelter deck. Openings repaired by welding inserts and subject to further examination. Essential repairs effected to electric cables, subject to further examination and testing and vessel proceeded on voyage in morning. Lloyd's surveyor appointed for General Average by owners, therefore in attendance throughout.
9/3/63: From damage alleged sustained 1/12/62 in consequence of grounding in San Francisco Bay: Bottom shell, three plates partially renew and one plate fair, internals straighten and partially renew, bilge keel port side fair and starboard side partially renew, spare tailshaft fit and stern tube bearing rewood, together with sundry damages and removals. From damage alleged sustained between 4/29 - 5/4/63 in consequence of fire in No. 5 hold while vessel lay alongside Pier 9, Manila: No. 5 hatch steel decking six plates renew and one fair, internals straighten and partially renew, 'tween deck bulkheads partially renew, electric wiring circuits completely renew, cargo winches and equipment overhaul, ventilation fan motors overhaul, together with sundry damages and removals. All repairs completed at Baltimore.
1/10/65: Propeller struck unknown submerged object while on passage from Oakland, CA to Manila.
4/10/65: Heavy weather damage.
5/13/65: From damage alleged sustained 1/10/65 in consequence of propeller striking unknown submerged object: Propeller remove and renew, spare propeller fit, tailshaft draw for examination, outer section of stern tube rewood and rudder post fractures vee-out and weld, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs completed at Baltimore. Owners are obtaining bids for the sale of the condemned propeller.
6/6/66: Cumulative heavy weather damage.
12/5/66: From New York: From damage alleged sustained between 4/10/65 and 6/6/66, in consequence of encountering heavy weather: Four bottom shell plates partially renew, internals straighten and partially renew, skeg fracture drill, vee-out and weld, new doubler install, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs completed.
2/21 - 2/27/67: Heavy weather while on passage from Yokohama to Panama.
8/23/67: From New York: From damage alleged sustained 2/21 - 2/27/67 in consequence of encountering heavy weather while on passage from Yokohama to Panama: Rudder remove and recondition, stern frame post fractures weld and pintles overhaul, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs completed. Owner's elected to fit a spare rudder.
2/27/68: From New York: Damage alleged to the stern frame discovered while on dry dock: Stern frame wrapper plates remove and renew, 14 cracks in stern frame vee-out, Magnaflux and weld, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs completed.
5/13/68: From Saigon: Steamer STEEL RECORDER grounded, allegedly due to Vietnamese Navy vessel anchored in fairway around blind turn.
5/14/68: STEEL RECORDER left Saigon for Seattle.
9/69: Sold to States Marine Lines, Inc.; renamed CONSTITUTION STATE.
12/9/69: At Philadelphia, damage discovered to rudder.
1/15/70: At New York from damage discovered at Philadelphia 12/9/69, cause unknown: Upper pintle to be resecured, various fractures on rudder post, rudder horn and rudder to be cut out and welded, staging and painting, necessary drydocking, lay days and services.
5/15/70: From San Francisco, steamer CONSTITUTION STATE, assured States Marine Lines, Inc. NY, struck submerged object; Surveyor attending at Todd Shipyards Corp., Seattle.
From Vancouver, CONSTITUTION STATE, damage alleged sustained to the propeller at some time and place unknown, discovered 3/29/70 during an exam at Keelung: remove propeller and repair, spare install and propeller shaft draw and examine, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs being completed.
12/11/70: American steamer CONSTITUTION STATE, Seattle for Bombay, reports death of Master, John Lewis, alleged suicide.
12/12/70: Replacement Master Robert Carhart arrived at Madras from New York.

Disposition DateComments
1971Sold to Taiwan Shipbreakers, having left Saigon 5/11/71, arriving at Kaohsiung prior to 6/10/71. Reported 6/71: Sold to the Republic of China (Taiwan) for Scrapping.



Calcutta


Photo courtesy of Mark Toft 2013 - All rights reserved.


Photo courtesy of Mark Toft 2013 - All rights reserved.

Delaware River, 29 Aug 1959


Photo courtesy of Mark Toft 2013 - All rights reserved.

Brooklyn, Oct 1948


National Archives

Shakedown cruise, Apr 1944


National Archives

Shakedown cruise, Apr 1944


National Archives


National Archives

Saipan, 16 Jun 1944


National Archives

Lingayen Gulf, under air attack, 9 Jan 1945


National Archives

Iwo Jima, Feb 1945


National Archives

Iwo Jima


National Archives

Iwo Jima



Photo courtesy of David C. Mountain (son of the ship's surgeon) 2013 - All rights reserved.


Photo courtesy of David C. Mountain (son of the ship's surgeon) 2013 - All rights reserved.

Circa Jan 1946


Photo courtesy of Roland C. Lebsack (former crew member) 2013 - All rights reserved.

Long Beach


Photo courtesy of Roland C. Lebsack (former crew member) 2013 - All rights reserved.

Portland, Oregon, Jul 1947


Photo courtesy of Roland C. Lebsack (former crew member) 2013 - All rights reserved.

Portland, Oregon, Jul 1947


Photo courtesy of Roland C. Lebsack (former crew member) 2013 - All rights reserved.

Portland, Oregon, Jul 1947


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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