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S.S. Steel Fabricator

Gross Tonnage: 8,162 Net: 4,730
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 SnapperUS War Shipping Administration
San FranciscoUSWB
APA 93
USS BarnstableUS Navy
Sea SnapperUS Maritime Commission
San FranciscoUS
Steel FabricatorIsthmian Lines, Inc.
New York
New YorkUS
Reliance DynastyReliance Carriers, S.A.
c/o Hongkong Maritime Co., Ltd.
Hong Kong
Grand ValorValor Navigation Corp.
c/o Sea King Corp.
New York

5/6/43: Keel laid.
8/5/43: Launched, sponsored by Miss Jean Watts. Taken over by the US Navy and completed by Commercial Iron Works, Portland, OR, as an Attack Transport, Barnstable (APA 93).
10/30/43: Delivered on a loan charter by Navy and commissioned the same day.
11/3/43: Out of commission, outfilled as an Attack Transport by Commercial Iron Works, Portland, OR.
5/22/44: Recommissioned, Capt. T. M. Stokes in command.
7/44: Arrived Pearl Harbor to join Transport Division 32.
9/44: After practice exercises at Guadalcanal participated in Peleliu landings and Ulithi occupation.
10/44: Participated in Leyte landings.
1/45: Participated in Lingayan Gulf landings.
4/45: Participated in Okinawa invasion. Returned to West Coast for overhaul, then shuttling troops to the Far East until January 1946.
3/25/46: Decommissioned, receiving 4 Battle Stars.
3/26/46: Returned to U.S. Maritime Commission.
1946: Conversion contract awarded to Blair Shipyards Inc., Yonkers, NY, at a cost of $416,125, to be completed in 68 days.
2/50: Surging resulting in plate and frame damage; repair cost $2,131 at Baltimore.
5/50: Hit submerged object; renew shaft and repair propeller at Galveston.
6/23/50: Struck bottom.
3/31/51: Broken turbine blade due to latent defect. Open turbines, remove high pressure rotor, renew bladings and rebalance rotor at New Orleans.
8/19/52: Excessive pressure damaged afterpeak tank top, beams, bulkhead and stiffeners.
1/11/53: Struck dock in New Orleans.
4/21/53: From striking dock 1/11/53, renew 4 dock piles together with sundry damages.
7/3/53: Propeller hit by barge.
7/28/53: Propeller hit by tug, install spare.
8/27/53: From damage to afterpeak tank 8/19/52, partially renew afterpeak tank top, together with beams partially fair, fair forward bulkhead, renew stiffeners with sundry damages and removals. From propeller being hit by barge 7/3/53, install spare propeller, recondition 1 blade of propeller, examine tailshaft together with sundry damages & removals. From propeller being struck by tug 7/28/53, install spare propeller, recondition 2 blades of propeller, examine tailshaft together with sundry damages & removals. All repairs and dry docking at Baltimore.
9/8/53: At Balboa, voyage Philadelphia & Newport News for Far East with general cargo, repairing boiler.
9/9/53: Left Balboa after repair.
11/1/54: On voyage Semarang to Saigon, lost propeller at 4.27 S, 109.36 E, about 500 miles from Singapore at 1945 in the Java Sea. Anchored in 25 fathoms awaiting aid. Agents dispatching tug. Singapore Harbor Board deep sea tug GRIPER waiting for final orders from local agents. Rescue expected to take 8 days.
11/6/54: Vessel being towed to Surabaya as repair facilities more easily available.
11/8/54: Arrived Surabaya in tow of tug GRIPER.
11/13/54: Tailshaft broken aft of liner, propeller lost; spare tailshaft and propeller from other ship available. Vessel drydocked upon arrival, recommended partial examination of turbines for eventual damage due to racing engine.
11/29/54: Sailed Surabaya for Singapore.
3/16/55: On voyage Port Arthur to Calcutta, delayed in Great Bitter Lake, Suez Canal due to defective low pressure turbine thrust bearing. Thrust pads being remetalled.
3/19/55: After repair proceeded to anchor in Suez Bay in afternoon for engine inspection by American Bureau Surveyor. Vessel sailed at 7 PM for Jeddah.
10/17/55: Left Savannah dock, swinging in river, hit bank or unknown object damaging rudder. Returned to dock for temporary repairs to enable her to complete discharge at Gulf ports. Vessel is to drydock at Galveston on or about 10/28 for further exam and repairs.
10/24/55: Vessel arrived New Orleans.
12/21/55: From grounding 10/17/55, renewed rudder and upper stock, straightened stern frame, rebored gudgeons, renewed bushes, carrier bearing bush and plate, removed and remachined steering crosshead, renewed key, renewed rudder palm bolts, together with sundry damages and removals; drydocking and repairs at Mobile.
7/25/56: Grounding.
11/30/56: From striking bottom 6/23/50, 2 shell plates renew, 4 partially renew and 6 fair, floors, angles and bilge keel straighten and partially renew, tanks steam, clean and test; together with sundry damages. From failure of low pressure turbine astern thrust 3/16/55, 2 rows of first stage astern blading in low pressure turbine renew, astern nozzle block and intermediate blade ring renew, rotor remove to shop and rebalance, low pressure turbine disassemble and reassemble, together with sundry damages and removals. From grounding 7/25/56, 4 shell plates partially renew, tanks steam, clean and test, together with sundry damages. Drydocking and all repairs at Mobile.
1/1/60: STEEL FABRICATOR, Vancouver for Hamburg, left New Orleans.
1/13/60: Steamer STEEL FABRICATOR arrived at La Pallice reporting anchor and chain lost in Mississippi River when leaving New Orleans. Chain and anchor replaced at La Pallice according to owner's instructions.
1/14/60: Vessel sailing at night.
8/3/60: From New York, STEEL FABRICATOR, Houston for Bombay, outbound, returned to New York with feed pump trouble.
8/4/60: From New York, STEEL FABRICATOR proceeded to Bethlehem 56th Street Yard, Brooklyn.
8/10/60: STEEL FABRICATOR left New York for Bombay.
12/22/63: From Wilmington, NC: Steamer STEEL FABRICATOR, with a cargo of burlap, en route from Mediterranean area, due Wilmington this morning, reported fire in No. 3 hold, under control. U.S. Coast Guard standing by when hatches are opened. (Later) Discharged this port No. 3 hatch upper 'tween deck total of 82 bales, bills of lading 717-3677A, 717-3677B and 717-3676, consignees Stein Hall & Co. Preliminary discharge exceptions two bales burnt, 12 bales coated with white substance, one bale cut. Vessel sailing for Savannah. Consignees at Savannah unknown. Vessel leaving Savannah for New Orleans. No. 3 lower 'tween deck empty, No. 3 lower hold contains burlap. Expressed opinion no damage in lower hold. STEEL FABRICATOR, Calcutta for Houston, left Wilmington 12/22/63.
5/15/64: From Norfolk: At 7:15 PM, steamer STEEL FABRICATOR, Calcutta for Houston, on fire in No. 3 'tween deck and hold. Cargo jute cuttings, baled burlap and general. Some damage to No. 2 from heat and water. Vessel arrived Hampton Roads today.
5/16/64: From Norfolk: At 5:00 PM, No. 3 partially flooded. Fire, smouldering under control. Arrangements being made to remove cargo from No. 3.
5/17/64: Fire out at Norfolk.
6/5/64: From New York: Steamer STEEL FABRICATOR, fire in No. 3 hold and 'tween decks on May 15 - 17, 1964 at Norfolk: Approximately 522,000 pounds of steel renew in shell plating, shelter deck, upper 'tween deck, double bottom tank top plating, internals, etc., electric wiring and insulation partially renew, together with numerous sundry damages and removals. Low bid by Jacksonville Shipyards.
6/8/64: Owners awarded contract to low bidder and repairs commenced at Jacksonville.
1/18/65: Steamer STEEL FABRICATOR, New Orleans for Calcutta, in collision with Liberian tank steamer MERACOULOSA at Karachi. It was stated that while the STEEL FABRICATOR was manoeuvering to come alongside, her bow was in collision with the aft port quarter of the MERACOULOSA, moored alongside the East Wharf, Karachi at approximately 9:30 AM.
12/30/67: Steamer STEEL FABRICATOR, Houston for Calcutta, sailed from New York and returned with engine trouble.
1/1/68: STEEL FABRICATOR sailed for Calcutta.
5/2/68: From damaged alleged sustained to bottom shell plates at some time, date and place unknown but discovered today on dry dock at Houston: One bottom plate partially renew and two renew, tanks gas-free and vessel dry dock, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs completed.
5/10/68: Damaged in consequence of touching bottom in Houston Ship Channel.
7/29/68: From Calcutta: M.V. TWEEDBANK reported struck by steamer STEEL FABRICATOR at King George's Dock buoys about noon. At request of owners of TWEEDBANK, appointed Lloyd's Register Surveyor, who examined this vessel prior to her sailing 7/30/68 for Norfolk.
12/17/68:Lubricating oil failure on voyage Houston for Calcutta.
12/30/68: Steamer STEEL FABRICATOR sailed from Calcutta for Houston.
12/31/68: STEEL FABRICATOR returned to Calcutta due to engine trouble.
1/2/69: STEEL FABRICATOR sailed from Calcutta for Houston.
3/5/69: From New York: From damage alleged sustained 12/17/68 in consequence of lubricating oil failure, voyage Houston for Calcutta: (a) High and low pressure turbines and gearing bearings open for examination, low pressure turbine casing open for examination, low pressure turbine bearings renew and interstage diaphragm packing, steam packing and oil seals renew, together with sundry damages and removals. (b) Low pressure rotor second row astern blading re-examine and possibly renew at next special survey and lower half interstage astern blading renew, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs (a) completed, (b) deferred.
8/11/69: From New York: From damaged alleged sustained 5/10/68 in consequence of touching bottom in Houston Ship Channel: Nine bottom shell plates renew, six partially renew and five fair and internal members straighten and partially renew, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs deferred.

1971: Sold by Isthmian Lines, Inc. to Reliance Carriers, S.A., Panama; renamed RELIANCE DYNASTY.
5/15/71: Panamanian steamer RELIANCE DYNASTY, from Cutuco, on fire at Kobe.
5/16/71: From Kobe: No. 4 hold flooded with sea-water and fire extinguished.
5/17/71: From Kobe: Approximately 2,600 bales of cotton for Kobe, Osaka, Keelung, Hong Kong and Bangkok consequently damaged by fire and water now being discharged.
5/18/71: Steamer RELIANCE DYNASTY now at Kobe. Agents advise fire in cotton cargo in No. 4 hold on 5/15/71. Cargo being discharged. Extent of hull damage, if any, not yet known.
1971: Sold by Reliance Carriers, S.A., Panama to Valor Navigation Corp., Panama; renamed GRAND VALOR.
11/5/71: From Saint John, N.B: GRAND VALOR contacted the second span of the Morrissey Bridge at Newcastle, N.B. with her stern at 8:30 PM, while moving away from her berth at Newcastle Wharf after loading woodpulp. The force of the impact dislodged the second span about five feet at one end of the abutment, knocking it off at its bearing pads and causing it to drop over a foot from its original height. Several heavy trusses on the east side of the span were twisted out of shape. Seizure order placed upon vessel.
11/8/71: From Saint John, N.B: Panamanian steamer GRAND VALOR, Mobile for Cambodia, sailed from her berth at Chatham, N.B. on Monday morning, 11/8/71, after the lifting of a seizure order placed on the vessel Friday night, 11/5/71. Workmen are at the site effecting repairs to the damaged span. An official at the Department of Highways said it was not possible to give an estimate of the damage and it was not known how long it would take to complete repairs. One source said it would take upwards of three weeks to put the bridge in service.
7/29/72: Panamanian steamer GRAND VALOR, from Mobile, exploded at Qui Nhon at 11 PM. No. 5 hatch holed about four inches under loadline and rice cargo wetted by sea-water incursion.
8/3/72: From staff surveyor at Hong Kong: Unable to proceed Qui Nhon. Naval advisors inform Qui Nhon province 90 percent Vietcong-controlled and city subject to frequent rocket and mortar attacks. Understand Lloyd's Agents at Saigon attempting to appoint surveyor. Naval sources inform ship holed No. 5 hold only and able to proceed under own power to repair port "as is".
8/3/72: From Qui Nhon: Preliminary survey by Lloyd's Agents from Saigon complete and provisional repairs begun.
8/7/72: Following received from Lloyd's Agents at Saigon: Surveyor back from Qui Nhon with following information on GRAND VALOR: Vessel damaged by mine, hole approximately 6 ft. 3 in. by 5 ft. 10 in., in port side of No. 5 lower hold after end. Watertight transverse bulkhead No. 5 aft end damaged at connection with shell plates, afterpeak opened to sea over approximately 2 ft. length. Ahead No. 5 bulkhead two port shell frames heavily distorted and fractured. No damage reported to main and auxiliary machinery. Provisional repairs started on 8/3/72 on completion of preliminary survey. There being no repair facilities at Qui Nhon, provisional repairs will consist of four-ton concrete patch fitted at bulkhead 182, extending to frame 179. This concrete patch to be build by vessel's own means. It is expected lower edge of hole will be approximately 5 ft. above waterline when ship is in light condition. Patch expected to be completed 8/6/72 and final survey to be held on 8/7/72, prior to vessel sailing to nearby port of repair, namely Singapore. Permanent repairs as follows: Remove concrete patch, renew approximately 50 sq. ft. of shell plates, renew partially frames 181 and 182 approximately 7 ft. in length, renew partially watertight bulkhead 182 approximately 8 sq. ft. and tight-test afterpeak tank and shell plating; repairs to be accomplished afloat.
8/9/72: Steamer GRAND VALOR arrived Singapore Roads.
8/21/72: Steamer GRAND VALOR sailed from Singapore Roads for Port Kelang after survey and repair of mine damage.

Disposition DateComments
1974Sold to Taiwan Shipbreakers, leaving Danang 12/21/73, arriving Kaohsiung 1/13. Reported 6/74: Sold to the Republic of China (Taiwan) for Scrapping.

As the U.S.S. Barnstable (APA-93)

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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