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S.S. Steel Architect

Gross Tonnage:8,004Net:4,721
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 CardinalUS War Shipping Administration
San FranciscoUSWB
Sea CardinalUS Maritime Commission
San FranciscoUS
Steel ArchitectIsthmian Lines, Inc.
New York
New YorkUS

1940: Originally ordered from Seattle-Tacoma SB Corp., Seattle, WA, a subsidiary of Todd Drydock & Construction Co., as one of a group of four C3 hulls. (In June 1944 the yard became known as Todd Pacific Shipyards, Inc.) Laid down for Isthmian SS Co. as Yard #8, MC Hull #169. Launched as Steel Architect 10/21/41. Completed for the US Navy as an Escort Carrier in June 1942, renamed COPAHEE (CVE 12) .Stricken to USN Reserve Tacoma, WA. July 1946. Reclassified CVHE in 1955. Scrapped at Nagasaki in July 1961.
4/28/44: Keel laid.
9/7/44: Launched, sponsored by Mrs. L.L. Cohen.
1/29/45: Delivered to War Shipping Administration for operation by Luckenbach Steamship Co.
1946: U.S. Maritime Commission.
2/47: As SEA CARDINAL, fire. Partially renew steering motors, accomodations, wiring and tarps; repair cost $4,914.
7/30/47: Hit submerged object at Pier 17, Brooklyn, NY; four propeller blades set over and folded back.
5/12/48: At 0635, position 2.42 N, 101.19 E, passed floating horned contact mine.
7/48: Barge hit propeller. Recondition and rebalance propeller, shaft draw, turning engine motor rewind; repair cost $6,150.
7/49: Hit submerged object. Renew shaft; repair cost $14,500.
5/6/50: At Houston for Beirut and India, sparks from fire in stack ignited tarps on Holds #1, 2 and 3, causing water damage to bags of ammonium nitrate in #3 Hold.
3/25/51: On voyage Singapore to Baltimore, barge struck propeller. Straighten prop, renew shaft and repair sundry damages at Baltimore.
8/14/52: Put back to Honolulu on voyage Surabaya to New York with excessive overheating of boiler casing indicating damaged insulation. Floors of boiler rebricked.
8/21/52: Left Honolulu.
10/52: Additional damage to boiler found at New York; repairs at Baltimore.
9/18/53: Struck submerged object.
11/24/53: Outbound from New Orleans for Hampton Roads at 1850 off Algiers Point, collided with MV GERTRUDE MAERSK outbound from Lake Charles with a cargo of rice for Japan. Extensive damage to the motorship which put in to New Orleans. Superficial stem plate damage to STEEL ARCHITECT who has effected temporary repairs. No casualties reported.
11/25/53: Proceeds at 4 PM for Hampton Roads.
12/16/53: From striking submerged object 9/18/53, fair 1 propeller blade, check pitch, together with sundry damages; repairs and dry docking at Baltimore.
1/19/54: From collision with MV GERTRUDE MAERSK 11/24/53, 4 plates renew, bulwarks, boat deck accomodation, frames and beams partially renew, together with sundry damages.
9/9/54: From collision with MV GERTRUDE MAERSK 11/24/53, 5 sheel plates renew, 2 partially renew, frames, beams, girders and brackets straighten and partially renew, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs at Mobile.
8/19/54: Portside lifeboat damage due to failure of after releasing gear.
10/13/54: From port lifeboat damage 8/19/54, partially renew port lifeboat plating, straighten keel, repair air tanks releasing gear, repair and partially renew 1 davit, renew fall, together with sundry damages; repairs at Houston and New Orleans.
1/55: Heavy weather damage.
11/9/55: From heavy weather 1/55, renew 2 plates and 3 fairwaters, straighten and partially renew floors and intercostals, together with sundry damages; drydocking and repairs at Baltimore.
6/11/57: Propeller stuck mooring buoy while shifting from the mooring buoys to the dock in the port of Saigon.
9/25/57: From damage 6/11/57 striking mooring buoy, propeller recondition, tailshaft fracture vee out and weld, bronze liner partially renew, stern tube bushing bore out, install owner's spare tailshaft, together with sundry damages; repairs completed at Baltimore.
6/4/58: At Saigon, on voyage Manila for Baltimore, steel lighter BC 3168 struck a blade of the propeller during discharge, one edge of the blade being turned back.
6/5/58: At Saigon, vessel was surveyed in consequence of propeller blade being struck by steel lighter BC 3168 6/4/58. A certificate of seaworthiness was issued.
6/25/59: From Colombo, 56 ships are idled due to a strike of 10,000 dock workers and 28 ships are queuing outside the harbor. STEEL ARCHITECT, Singapore for Baltimore, decided to bypass Colombo.
12/7/59: Tugs JANE McALLISTER and ELLEN F. McALLISTER were guiding steamer STEEL ARCHITECT, Manila for Baltimore, in snowstorm with wind gusts of 70 mph, to the pier at Erie Basin, Brooklyn. A sudden gust of wind blew the ship and tugs towards two piers of the Basin. As both tugs tried to get away, shortly after 8 AM, the ELLEN F. McALLISTER rolled. Her propeller nicked the bow of the JANE McALLISTER which began to take on water. The JANE McALLISTER was taken to a nearby shipyard for repairs. The ELLEN F. McALLISTER is to go to a Jersey City repair yard 12/8.
3/1/60: From damage alleged sustained to Pier A, Erie Basin 12/7/59; pier surveyed without predjudice: Twenty-four wood piles renew, various backing logs, deck planks and timbers renew, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs completed.
7/18/63: Damaged from striking pier at Port Richmond while berthing with the assistance of tugs H.C. JEFFERSON and JAMES MCALLISTER.
4/17/64: From damage alleged sustained 7/18/63 in consequence of striking pier: Port side two shell plates renew, nine partially renew and one fair, internals straighten and partially renew, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs completed at Brooklyn, NY.
10/2/64: Damage to No. 3 turbo-generator unit in consequence of alleged crew negligence while on passage from Surabaya to Singaport.
10/3/64: At Singapore, steamer STEEL ARCHITECT, Philadelphia for Penang, in port; agents requested survey of engine damage.
10/5/64: STEEL ARCHITECT left Singapore after survey.
1/65: Damage to port side watertube boiler discovered at Manila.
4/13/65: Tugs contact propeller.
4/29/65: From alleged overheating damage to port side watertube boiler, first discoved at Manila in January: Portside watertube boiler 29 combined side and roof 2 in diameter studded tubes to renew, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs completed.
6/15/65: Propeller struck by derrick.
8/11/65: Tugs contact propeller.
8/17/65: From New York: From damage alleged sustained 10/2/64 by No. 3 turbo-generator unit in consequence of alleged crew negligence whil on passage from Surabaya to Singapore: No. 3 turbo-generator rotor, gear train and casing renew, armature rewind, electrical fixtures renew, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs completed.
4/6/66: From Los Angeles: Surveyor reports propeller damage, edges and blades affected variously, propeller to be changed, shaft liner eroded, to be machined. Presently subject survey re contacts by tugs 4/13/65 and 8/11/65, also struck by derrick 6/15/65.
9/26/68: Damaged in collision with barge YFNB-28 at Da-Nang.
12/3/68: Steamer STEEL ARCHITECT, Philadelphia for Saigon, struck Pier 8, Staten Island, while shifting in harbor at 1:15 AM. Hull damage to vessel, extensive damage to pier. Vessel to be surveyed this morning. After striking Pier 8, STEEL ARCHITECT proceeded to Anchorage 23, Staten Island, and will be inspected. STEEL ARCHITECT left New York for Yokohama.
3/12/69: From Portland, OR: From damage alleged sustained in consequence of striking Pier 8, Staten Island, NY on 12/3/68, also grounding at the same time: Propeller to remove and recondition, tailshaft draw for examination and Magnaflux test, stern tube wood bearing renew, owner's spare propeller fit as replacement, starboard bilge keel partially renew, main circulating pump impeller to repair, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs completed.
6/26/69: From Colombo: Agents of M.V. MAHSUD, New Orleans for Chittagong, report while vessel proceeding to sea from berth in harbor, with pilot on board at 6:22 AM, 6/26/69, came in contact with quay, also with steamer STEEL ARCHITECT, New York for Calcutta. MAHSUD sustained extensive damage to forepeak and No. 1 starboard upper 'tween deck but apparently not taking water. STEEL ARCHITECT stern slightly damaged and quay wall damaged.
6/25/69: From Colombo: Steamer STEEL ARCHITECT: Surveyor reports slight damage stern area, alleged to have been struck by starboard side of M.V. MAHSUD while STEEL ARCHITECT was tied alongside Queen Elizabeth Quay Berth No. 3. Shipside rails of stern torn away, canopy over poop damaged and slight buckling to deck plate and sheerstrake at stern. Owners to carry out permanent repairs at termination of voyage in U.S.; proceeding via Calcutta. Surveyor recommends fit improvised shipside rails for safety of personnel.
6/27/69: STEEL ARCHITECT sailed from Colombo, with damage mainly confined to stern counter and indented shell plating due to contact with quay.
7/1/69: STEEL ARCHITECT arrived Calcutta.
7/3/69: From Calcutta: Examined steamer STEEL ARCHITECT without prejudice: Now found second below sheer port side in way of No. 4 'tween deck variously indented, one frame in way bent, starboard quarter sheerstrake buckled over 8 ft. together with deck plate and structure in way, also damage to guardrails, fairleads and awning starboard quarter. Believed aft anchor sternlights and flagpost lost overboard, also three mooring ropes parted and lost. Surveyor reports owners intend carrying out temporary repairs to guardrails and fairleads and permanent repairs to awning, remainder deferred until vessel's arrival in U.S.
7/9/69: From Calcutta: Partial permanent and partial temporary repairs effected.
9/24/69: From New York: Steamer STEEL ARCHITECT: From damage alleged sustained 9/26/68, in consequence of collision with barge at Da-Nang: One starboard side plate renew, one partially renew and three fair, internals straighten and partially renew, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs completed; drydocking not required. From damage alleged sustained 6/26/69, in consequence of collision with M.V. MAHSUD while moored at Colombo: One starboard side shell plate renew, deck plate partially renew, stern closed chock renew, internals straighten and partially renew, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs completed; drydocking not required.
2/26/71: From Cochin, voyage Calcutta for Houston, Surveyor reports propeller damaged, stated by contact, wherby all four blades require cropping and dressing, resulting in reduction in diameter by two feet. On completion of shafting inspection, cropping and diver's inspection, trial run to be carried out for checking speed and vibrations of machinery and shafting under working conditions.
2/28/71: After temporary repairs and trial runs completed, vesel sailed from Cochin in PM.

Disposition DateComments
1971Delivered to Taiwan Shipbreakers, arriving at Kaohsiung 7/28/71. Scrapped 8/71 Kaohsiung. Reported 9/71: Sold to the Republic of China (Taiwan) for Scrapping.

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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