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S.S. Steel Age

Gross Tonnage:8,040Net:4,705
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:1971

----------------------------------- Vessel History -----------------------------------
Call Ltrs
Sea FlasherUS War Shipping Administration, operated by Isthmian SS Co. as Army Troopship
San FranciscoUSWB
Sea FlasherUS Maritime Commission
San FranciscoUS
Steel AgeIsthmian Lines, Inc.
New York
New YorkUS

3/18/43: Keel laid.
6/22/43: Launched, sponsored by Mrs. Christian Andersen.
12/24/43: Delivered; completed conversion to a transport, carrying 2,086 troops and 226,500 cubic feet of cargo, by builders for operation by WSA. "The hull and contour of the superstructure was similar to the cargo ship version. The main difference in external appearance was the presence of landing craft in special davits on deck. Two holds amidships were converted for troop use. Three deck levels were created in these holds. On each level bunks tiered five high were constructed in rows. Each passageway had bunks on either side. Bunks were thirty inches wide. A galley and mess hall separate from the ship's crew was provided for the troops. The troops used their own mess gear and had no assigned dining room. A sick bay and dental clinic was provided for the troops. The troop commander had a private cabin and office with a loudspeaker communication to all troop areas from either location. The communication system in these ships was quite complex. The ship's captain had direct communication with all compartments in case of emergency. He had direct separate contact with the ship's operating departments. To entertain troops on their long crowded voyage, there were facilities to broadcast music and other entertainment to troop compartments. Since the troopships carried less weight, concrete was placed in the bottom of the holds as ballast to improve the ship's comfort, safety and performance.
"Steel Ships and Iron Pipe" by Dean L. Mawdsley.
1/10/44: Began active troop service with Isthmian Steamship Co. operating the vessel for the WSA as a troopship carrying 226,500 cubic feet of cargo and 2,086 troops.
1/44 - 3/46: Operated between West Coast ports of San Francisco, Portland and Seattle and many ports in the Western Pacific.
5/3/45: The vessel sailed from San Francisco, CA to Okinawa, Owner WSA, Operator Isthmian SS Co., Gust E. Jonsson Master, with 2,000 tons general cargo and troops, arriving 5/3. At 3 PM, as the ship anchored off Okinawa while discharging troops, one of the gun crews on the USS New Mexico (BB-40) accidently fired the 40-mm gun during exercises. 8 high explosive incendiary shells struck the starboard side between #2 and #3 holds, starting a small fire. The crew quickly extinguished the flames, with the ship suffering little damage to her hull, winches and rafts. The ship's complement consisted of 11 officers, 50 crewmen, 43 armed guards and 1,609 troops. 47 men were injured and 7 of the troops were killed.
2/17/46: Assigned to U.S. Maritime Commission Reserve Fleet at Lee Hall, VA in the James River.
2/28/46: Released from troop service at San Francisco.
4/17/46: Assigned to WSA Reserve Fleet at Lee Hall, VA.
10/8/46: Todd Shipyards Corp., Brooklyn, NY, receives vessel for reconversion at a cost of $255,639, to be completed in 45 days.
4/47: Reconversion completed.
2/48: Struck buoy. Shaft, rope guard and propeller fairwater damaged; repair cost $2,467.
6/9/48: Arrived Port Said, voyage Baltimore to Persian Gulf, with boiler tube damage.
7/4/48: Aground, 3 plates, fair and frames, partially renew brackets; repairs at Baltimore
8/5/48: Collision with tug ABGAIS; plate frame and bracket damage.
6/11/49: Fair 3 plates, partially renew floors, brackets and angles, steam, clean and test tanks at Baltimore.
5/50: Collision with turbo electric vessel STRATHAIRD. Damage to plates, frames, brackets and beams; repair cost $6,122.
8/4/51: Struck dock, voyage Djakarta to New York; propeller repair, shaft draw and inspect; repairs at Baltimore.
3/7/52: Aground at 6 PM near Locust Point at Baltimore. Off in 2 hours with the aid of Coast Guard Cutter APACHE.
2/2/53: Boiler flareback.
6/3/53: Hit submerged object.
6/19/53: From boiler flareback 2/2/53, renew 336 tubes and soot blower, insulation and casing partially renew, cleaning and removals, together with sundry damages; repairs at Baltimore.
3/24/54: From striking submerged object 6/3/53, draw fractured propeller shaft, renew, fit spare and renew coupling bolts, together with sundry damages, repair and drydocking at Galveston.
4/21/54: Hit breakwater; damaged plates and internals.
6/10/54: Heavy weather; damaged #3 Tween Deck.
8/25/54: From striking breakwater 4/21/54, renew 2 plates and 4 fair, internal members partially renew and fair, together with sundry damages and removals. From heavy weather 6/10/54, Galveston for Calcutta, #3 Tween Deck aft centerline bulkhead together with stiffeners partially renew, together with sundry damages and removals. All repairs at Baltimore.
3/17/55: Collision with chain lighter.
10/5/55: From collision 3/17/55, propeller nut, fairwater and fastenings, renew, together with sundry damages; drydocking and repairs at Mobile.
11/17/55: Grounding.
10/1/56: From grounding 11/17/55, 2 shell plates renew, 14 partially renew and 8 fair, keelson and floors straighten and partially renew, tanks steam, clean and test, together with sundry damages; drydocking and repairs at New Orleans.
1/12/57: While lying at moorings at Port de Bouc, collided with motor tanker ILIADE.
3/5/57: From collision 1/12/57, 3 shell plates partially renew, frames, beams, bulkheads, brackets, deck stringer plating, rails and stanchions, straighten and partially renew, together with sundry damages; repairs at New Orleans. Surveyor reports vessel will be examined further at next drydocking.
4/3/58: Struck a submerged object at Buoy No. 35, Savannah River, Savannah, GA.
11/28/58: From striking submerged object 4/3/58, remove damaged propeller, spare propeller install, tailshaft draw for examination, top pintle renew, rudder gudgeon bushings renew, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs completed at New Orleans.
4/6/60: At Philadelphia, steamer STEEL AGE, Houston for Calcutta, outbound for New York, grounded off Marine Terminal at 3 PM. Vessel refloated at 5:35 PM with the assistance of tugs.
4/7/60: Arrived at New York.
4/30/60: Steamer STEEL AGE, Houston for Calcutta, arrived Jeddah.
5/3/60: STEEL AGE expected to sail from Jeddah without discharging about 600 tons of Jeddah cargo due to United Arab Republic shipping boycott of port workers.
5/10/60: STEEL AGE, still in Jeddah commenced discharge of cargo.
11/27-11/28/62: Damage from heavy weather on passage from Brunswick to Norfolk.
12/1-12/2/62: Damaged at Shed No. 4, Erie Basin Terminal, New York in consequence of barge STEEL WELD repeatedly striking the vessel's propeller.
12/13/62: Owners of steamer STEEL AGE, New Orleans for Calcutta, report vessel delayed at New York for eight days due to drydocking and repairs necessitated by barge striking vessel. STEEL AGE left today for Calcutta.
1/21/63: From New York: From damage alleged sustained in consequence of encountering heavy weather 11/27 - 28/62 while on passage from Brunswick to Norfolk: Two bottom shell plates renew, adjacent plates fair, internals straighten, double bottom tanks steam, clean and test, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs deferred. From damage alleged sustained 12/1 - 2/62 while docked at Shed No. 4, Erie Basin, New York, when propeller, which was being turned over by the jacking gear, repeatedly struck by barge STEEL WELD: Propeller remove and recondition, tailshaft draw for examination, found fractured, remove from vessel, owner's spare tailshaft and propeller install, stern bushings rewood, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs completed at Brooklyn, NY. Tailshaft will be repaired at later date. Vessel was drydocked with about 8,500 tons of cargo on board.
3/1/64: From Port Said: Steamer STEEL AGE, Chittagong for New York and New Orleans, while mooring at 11 PM struck streamer MECCA, which anchored. Both vessels slightly damaged.
3/2/64: STEEL AGE left Port Said.
5/21/64: From damage alleged sustained 11/27 - 11/29/62 in consequence of encountering heavy weather while on Voyage No. 24: Four bottom plates renew and one fair, internals straighten and partially renew, tanks steam, clean and test, top rudder pintle renew, bottom pintle remove, sleeve machine and new gudgeon bushing install, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs completed at Galveston.
7/2/66: From Calcutta: Steamer STEEL AGE, from Galveston, reported that, while manoeuvering, she contacted motor vessel JALAKENDRA, moored Esplanade moorings, at 11:40 AM. Understand JALAKENDRA sustained damages abreast Nos. 4 and 5 hatches and at owner's request appointed Lloyd's surveyor to attend to this vessel. Damage also found to low pressure turbine upon arrival at Calcutta on voyage No. 34.
1/67: Dry docking.
3/28/67: From New York: From damage alleged sustained on 7/2/66 in consequence of the low pressure turbine rubbing on Voyage No. 34 upon arrival at Calcutta: Low pressure turbine unit casing lift, rotor remove to shop, low pressure rotor blades renew on fifth and sixth ahead stages and first astern stage and first stage astern diaphragm blades renew, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs completed.
4/25/67: Damage from heavy weather while on passage from Port Said to Alicante.
8/2/67: Contact with steamer MARY F.
9/25/67: Damage from grounding discovered while in dry dock at New Orleans.
11/2/67: From New York: From damage alleged sustained 4/25/67 in consequence of heavy weather on passage from Port Said to Alicante: Two keel plates renew and frames straighten, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs completed. From damage alleged sustained in consequence of grounding at some date and place unknown, but since last in dry dock in January and discovered on 9/25/67 in dry dock in New Orleans: Port side bilge keel partially renew, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs completed. One bottom shell plate renew and one fair, floors and brackets fair and partially renew, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs deferred.
2/9/70 From Saigon: While STEEL AGE lay berthed at No. 3, New Port Pier, Steamer BEAUREGARD, unmooring and attempting to turn on flood tide, came into contact with STEEL AGE bow and hull port side. At that time, tug HORSEHEAD had been trapped between BEAUREGARD and STEEL AGE. Steamer STEEL AGE surveyed without prejudice: Damage generally confined to soft nose stem indentation approximately 2.5 ft. by 1.5 ft. and port side shell plate in way of No. 3 lower hold two successive indentations, each approximately 30 in. by 30 in., at port frame 77, itself slightly set in. Repairs could be deferred to later date.
2/14/70: Steamer STEEL AGE left Saigon for the United States.
4/13/70: Struck submerged object.
5/11/70: From Honolulu: Steamer STEEL AGE, en route Manila for Canal Zone, diverting Honolulu with stern tube gland leaking and possible damage to propeller.
5/13/70: From Honolulu: Steamer STEEL AGE arrived at 3:45 PM. Surveyor reports part of one of five propeller blades missing and stern and tailshaft bearings heavily worn. Vessel to be drydocked at United States Navy Shipyard. Spare propeller and tailshaft arriving 5/20. Owners allege damage result of striking submerged object. Surveyor reserves opinion until completion of dry-dock examination.
5/18/70 From Honolulu: Steamer STEEL AGE drydocked Pearl Harbor.
5/26/70: From Honolulu: STEEL AGE drydocked Pearl Harbor, expected date of departure 5/29. Aft stern tube bearing being rewooded and tailshaft and propeller replaced with owner-furnished spares. Extensive filling and drilling flange holes immediate shaft required. Owners alleged damaged propeller result of striking submerged object on 4/13/70, surveyor concurs. Surveyor believes damaged stern tube bearing and propeller in consequence of proceeding from Vietnam to Hawaii with part of one of five propeller blades missing. Class surveyor in Manila recommended vessel proceed east coast United States port via Panama at speed giving minimum vibration and then re-examine and deal with propeller and tailshaft as found necessary. Owners also alleging extensive damage to port and starboard sides as a result of striking tug and being hit by tug at the same time as propeller damage.
5/29/70: Steamer STEEL AGE, repairs satisfactorily completed, sailed for Panama at 8:30 PM.
7/13/70: Damaged in consequence of port boiler having had a flare-back while vessel starting to get underway at Bayonne, NJ.
7/22/70: From Cristobal: Steamer STEEL AGE, Savannah and Norfolk for Honolulu and Saigon, with military cargo arrived Cristobal for boiler repairs; classification surveyor attending.
7/23/70: Steamer STEEL AGE left Cristobal for Honolulu after repairs.
10/20/70: From San Francisco: Steamer STEEL AGE, damage alleged sustained in consequence of port boiler having had a flare-back while vessel starting to get underway at Bayonne, NJ: 672 damaged generating tubes and 41 damaged rear wall tubes to remove and renew, bowed rear wall casing to remove, partially fair and partially renew and replace with new insulation, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs in process.
3/71: James Plakias, Master who delivered the vessel to Kobe, Japan where Isthmian sold her to shipbreakers.

Disposition DateComments
1971Delivered to Taiwan Shipbreakers, having departed Kobe 3/23, arriving Kaohsiung 4/9. Reported 5/71: Sold to the Republic of China (Taiwan) for Scrapping.

Photo courtesy of Teresa Emory 2013 - All rights reserved.

Drydock, 1949

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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