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S.S. Steel Admiral

Gross Tonnage:8,071Net:4,762
Dimensions:492' 0" x 69' 7" x 29' 5"MC Type:C3-S-A2
Builder:Western Pipe & Steel Co.
San Francisco, CA
Hull #
USMC Hull #
Date of Build:
Engines:2 Steam Turbines DR Geared to Single Screwed ShaftEngine Builder:General Electric Co.
Lynn, MA
Navigation:DF, ESD, GC, RDR, RTDecks, etc.:2 Decks & Open Shelter Deck

Began Isthmian Service:1947Ended Isthmian Service:1973

----------------------------------- Vessel History -----------------------------------
Call Ltrs
Sea AnglerUS War Shipping Administration
San FranciscoUSWB
APA 96
USS CecilUS Navy
USS CecilUS Maritime Commission
San FranciscoUS
Steel AdmiralIsthmian Lines, Inc.
New York
New YorkUS

6/24/43: Keel laid.
9/27/43: Launched, sponsored by Mrs. J.L. Bloom. Taken over by the US Navy and completed by Commercial Iron Works, Portland, OR, as an Attack Transport, CECIL (APA 96).
2/26/44: Delivered.
2/26/44: Acquired by the Navy.
2/27/44: Placed in reduced commission.
9/15/44: Placed in full commission, Capt. P.G. Hale in command.
11/26/44: Departed for the Western Pacific, shuttling troops until January 1946.
2/45: Off Iwo Jima as Major General Keller Rockey's command ship, a team of four Navajo "Code Talkers" was pitted against four Marine Signal Officers. The Navajos easily won the encounter and with it the responsiblity for communicating orders and information on Iwo Jima.
4/45: Participated in Okinawa invasion.
5/24/46: Decommissioned at Norfolk.
5/25/46: Returned to U.S. Maritime Commission, receiving 2 Battle Stars.
1946: Conversion contract awarded to Todd Shipybuilding, Galveston, TX, at a cost of $534,235.
1947: 55,000 cubic feet of reefer space installed by Ingalls Shipbuilding, Birmingham, AL.
9/20/48: On voyage Baltimore to Ras Tanura, aground at 0200 in Suez Roads for entire length of ship off Marakeb Quay at Port Tewfik. Tug HERCULES unable to refloat ship; fuel, water and 300 tons cargo unloaded.
9/21/48: Attempt to refloat unsuccessful; 630 more tons of cargo unloaded.
9/22/48: Attempt to refloat unsuccessful.
9/24/48: With 1,750 tons of cargo offloaded, refloated at 1530; $12,497 damage.
10/48: Propeller hit by barge #113; repair cost $7,736.
11/48: Stevedore damage to boom and hold sheathing; repair cost $3,249.
2/23/49: Command detonated mine exploded 50 yards from ship in Saigon River about 40 miles from Saigon on voyage Baltimore to Penang; no damage.
4/50: Struck dock. Repairs at Baltimore to propeller, and renew shaft with spare; repair cost $13,627.
11/5 - 11/6/50: Heavy weather; renew port accomodation ladder, partially renew platform and gangway.
4/1/51: Damage discovered in drydock at Baltimore, date and cause unknown. Renew rope guards, partially renew propeller sealing glands, draw shaft and repair sundry damages.
10/20/51: Struck submerged object. Remove and recondition propeller at Baltimore.
4/21/52: While maneuvering at Port Swettenham, scraped SS QUEEN ANNE at dock; stanchion, bulwark and pipe damage.
4/7/54: Damage to starboard boiler caused by alleged crew negligence.
8/5/54: From boiler damage 4/7/54, renew 88 screen tubes, 29 waterwall and 885 generating tubes and brickwork partially renew, together with sundry damages and extensive removals; repairs at Baltimore.
8/27/56: Collision with barge BARZ in tow of tug TOOSERKAN while moored at Bandar Shapur.
8/29/56: Radio message received from Master of STEEL ADMIRAL, Philadelphia for Basrah, of serious propeller damage when leaving Bandar Shapur, inflicted by tug and barge attending other vessel. It was understood the vessel was diverting to Bahrein.
8/29/56: STEEL ADMIRAL is not diverting to Bahrein and arrived Ras Tanura.
9/3/56: Vessel left Ras Tanura.
9/5/56: Arrives Bahrein for sighting damage and repair if possible; reported 2 blades of propeller bent 12 inches deep at top. Sailed for Dammam.
2/27/57: From collision with barge BARZ and tug TOOSERKAN 8/27/56, remove and recondition propeller, tailshaft fractured, renew, coupling bolts renew, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs completed at Brooklyn.
3/8/57: STEEL ADMIRAL, Philadephia for Djakarta, collided in New York harbor with small motor tanker VAL-T in driving rain. STEEL ADMIRAL has gash 4 ft. by 8 ft. on starboard side above the waterline; VAL-T has bow stove in. VAL-T reported to be sinking. Seven Coast Guard vessels were sent to the scene of the collision in upper New York Bay, near The Narrows, the channel between Brooklyn and Staten Island. Coast Guard said the tanker's bow was reported stove in and a big hole was stated to have been ripped in the side of the freighter, which had been at anchor. A small water taxi was sent to take members of the crew ashore from the freighter was crushed at the time of collision. The one man killed was identified as Thomas O'Rourke, pilot of the water taxi. The STEEL ADMIRAL lowered a power lifeboat which towed the water taxi to shore before it could sink.
3/9/57: Collision 3/8/57 occured at 6 PM in the Bay Ridge anchorage about 1/4 mile off 69th St. Brooklyn. The anchored STEEL ADMIRAL received a 4 ft. by 8 ft. dent in her starboard side. The prow of the VAL-T was crushed. The water taxi OSCAR GORDON, which was tied up at the gangplank of the STEEL ADMIRAL, was demolished and sunk. Her skipper was killed. There were no injuries to personnel on the other vessels. Both vessels have been towed to shipyards in New York.
3/14/57: From collision 3/8/57, 1 starboard side shell plate renew, 2 partially renew and 1 fair, frames, deck stringer plate, deck beams and brackets straighten and partially renew, extensive removals and replacements, refrigeration space insulation, together with sundry damages; drydocking and repairs at Brooklyn.
3/15/57: STEEL ADMIRAL left New York for Belawan.
12/5/57: Damaged in consequence of soot fire in the port boiler economiser while lying at Pier 32, Honolulu.
1/23/58: From boiler damage 12/5/57, 4 economiser elements renew, baffles renew, soot blower element renew, brickwork partially renew, casing panel plates partially renew, insulation partially renew, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs at Baltimore.
9/16/62: From Bangkok, steamer STEEL ADMIRAL, Baltimore for Penang, grounded at 10:05 AM outside Bangkok bar. Vessel refloated under own power at 4:45 PM and sailed for Surabaya; no damage reported.
3/14/62: STEEL ADMIRAL, Philadelphia for Penang, damaged due to alleged stevedore negligence in damaging No. 3 starboard double bottom tank top manhole cover while loading cargo at Brooklyn, NY.
3/15/62: Damage discovered: No. 3 lower hold flooded with fuel oil, including 400 tons of steel oil drums and packaged vegetable oil. Cargo removed, cleaned and restowed, lower hold cleaned, tank manhole cover renewed, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs completed.
6/2/63: Struck dock while berthing at Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
6/5/63: From damage alleged sustained 9/16/62, in consequence of stranding at Bangkok Bar while en route from Bangkok to Surabaya: Propeller recondition, tailshaft draw for examination, tailshaft recondition, inner stern bearing rewood, spare tailshaft and propeller install, centre and lower rudder pintles remachine and pintle bushings renew and rudder side plating fractures vee out and weld, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs completed at Baltimore.
10/26/63: At Singapore, collided at 5:21 PM with motor vessel PUNDUA when PUNDUA was leaving the Empire Dock.
5/5/63: From New York: From damage alleged sustained 6/2/63 in consequence of striking dock in Cambodia: Port side shell, four plates renew, internals straighten and partially renew, insulation in way of refrigeration spaces remove and replace with partially new material, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs deferred. Drydocking not necessary.
4/28/65: From Baltimore: Damage discovered in consequence of striking and/or landing heavily against a pier or dock.
5/18/65: From New York: From damage alleged sustained on 6/2/63 in consequence of striking the dock while berthing at Sihanoukville: Port side shell four plates renew and one fair, internals straighten and partially renew, sheathing and insulation in way remove and partially renew, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs completed. From damage discovered 4/28/65 at Baltimore, sustained at some time and place unknown in consequence of striking and/or landing heavily against pier or dock: Port side shell four plates renew, two partially renew and three fair, internals straighten and partially renew, sheathing and insulation remove and partially renew, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs completed.
3/24/67: Damaged in consequence of striking dock at Dundalk Marine Terminal, Baltimore.
9/24/67: STEEL ADMIRAL, San Diego for Saigon, left Columbia River.
10/11/67: From Hong Kong: Steamer STEEL ADMIRAL has sustained engine breakdown in South China Sea on voyage to South Vietnam.
10/13/67: From Hong Kong: Steamer STEEL ADMIRAL: Advised vessel now proceeding under own power, breakdown rectified and should arrive Saigon 10/14 or 10/15.
10/15/67: STEEL ADMIRAL arrived Saigon.
5/27 - 29/68: Damaged striking pier at Sattahip.
6/27/68: From San Francisco: Steamer STEEL ADMIRAL, damage alleged sustained, 3/24/67 from striking dock at Baltimore: Four shell plates to renew and two to crop and partially renew, ship side insulation in No. 4 hatch port and starboard 'tween deck chambers to remove and replace after repairs, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs deferred.
5/6/69: From Hong Kong: Steamer STEEL ADMIRAL: Surveyor advises found starboard side shell plating H and G in way of No. 4 cargo hold heavily set in between frames 1361/2 and 1501/2, port side shell platings H and G in way of No. 4 cargo hold heavily set in between frames 1251/2 and 1501/2 and starboard side shell plating H 13 in way of No. 3 cargo hold set in moderately. All started due to striking pier at Sattahip 5/27 - 29/68. Repairs being carried out at Hong Kong. Drydocking not necessary.
5/10/69: STEEL ADMIRAL left Hong Kong for Seattle.
9/4/69: From London: The following message has been received from Hong Kong: Steamer STEEL ADMIRAL, U.S. for South Vietnam, full cargo of lumber, asphalt, beer and machinery, breakdown lat. 19 2 N, long. 117 42 E. TAIKOO proceeding in evening of 9/4/69, Hong Kong time. From Yokohama: Steamer STEEL ADMIRAL, on loaded passage from U.S. West Coast to Da-Nang, disabled due to boiler trouble in position lat. 19 21 N, long. 117 42 E, approximately 250 miles south-east of Hong Kong and 105 miles from Pratas Reef. Master requests tug assistance and suitable tug available Hong Kong.
9/6/69: From Yokohama: Steamer STEEL ADMIRAL taken in tow at 8 AM, JST, 9/6/69, by TAIKOO, estimated date of arrival at Hong Kong 9/8/69, terms believed daily rate.
9/8/69: STEEL ADMIRAL arrived Hong Kong.
9/10/69: From Hong Kong: Steamer STEEL ADMIRAL: Lloyds instructed by owner's agents and surveyor advises port and starboard boilers out of action and header handhole doors removed. Stated cause header handhole door joints leaking badly and unable to maintain working water level in boilers. Crew unable to effect necessary repairs.
9/11/69: STEEL ADMIRAL left Hong Kong for Da-Nang.
12/28/70: STEEL ADMIRAL, New York for Yokohama and Saigon with general cargo, arrived Cristobal for boiler repairs.
12/31/70: STEEL ADMIRAL left Cristobal for Yokohama and Saigon.
11/8/71: Alleged sustained damage to tailshaft, discovered in November when vessel was on drydock at Hoboken, N.J. where repairs were carried out.

Disposition DateComments
1973Sold to Yung Tai Steel & Iron Works Co., Ltd. and delivered at Kaohsiung 10/18/73. Scrapped 10/73 Kaohsiung. Reported 12/73: Sold to the Republic of China (Taiwan) for Scrapping.

Photo courtesy of Captain Tom Ellsworth 2004 - All rights reserved.

Photo courtesy of Captain Tom Ellsworth 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.

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