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S.S. Steel Scientist

Gross Tonnage:8,027Net:4,670
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:
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:1971

----------------------------------- Vessel History -----------------------------------
Call Ltrs
Sea OwlUS War Shipping Administration, operated by American Export Lines as Army Troopship
New OrleansUSWB
Sea OwlUS Maritime Commission
New OrleansUS
Steel ScientistIsthmian Lines, Inc.
New York
New YorkUS

7/22/43: Keel laid.
12/17/43: Launched.
6/27/44: Completed conversion to a transport (2,156 troops) by builders for operation by the WSA.
1946: To U.S. Maritime Commission.
1946: Conversion contract awarded to J.K. Welding Co., Yonkers, NY, at a cost of $282,000, to be completed in 70 calendar days.
9/49: Aground with damage to bottom plates, keelson, intercostals and rudder; repair cost $33,904.
3/50: Damaged port boiler from alleged crew negligence. Renew 53 screening, 672 generating, 175 superheater tubes, lower economiser, 3 soot blowers, superheater support plates and header plates and partially renew insulation, casings and brickwork; repair cost $30,562.
6/6/50: Collision with barge resulting in plate and frame damage.
12/31/50: First vessel in the Hawaiian service to depart from Erie Basin.
2/27/51: Hit submerged object; repair propeller, fit spare and renew shaft; drydock at Baltimore.
3/6/51: Hit dock; renew 2 shell plates and 6 frames; repairs at Baltimore.
2/16/53: At Berth #27, Kidderpore Dock, Calcutta, Calcutta for U.S. Gulf ports, at 1220, fire in #2 Hold starboard in cargo of jute, gunnies and shellac. Flooded Hold with gas. Cargo damaged by fire and water. Fire engines brought flames under control by dusk but jute bales were still smoldering late at night. Ship was due to sail for U.S. that night.
2/17/53: #2 Hold flooded with water and fire extinguished at 1430. Water being pumped out and damaged cargo will be discharged. Capt. Patterson appointed General Average Surveyors, Landall and Clark as assessors.
3/13/53: Vessel left Calcutta for Mobile.
4/17/53: Grounding.
6/9/53: From fire in #2 Hold 2/16/53, 4 shell plates renew, frames, bulkheads and stanchions straighten and partially renew, wood decking and cargo battens partially renew, check electric equipment, ladders, reach rods, pipe guards and hatch coamings in way of #2 and 2A deep tanks repair, tanks clean and recoat, bilge wells clean, bilge pump repair together with sundry damages.
7/53 - 8/53: Heavy weather, Calcutta from Mobile.
9/7/53: While docked at Houston, stern struck by stern of MV QUEEN CITY, from Rotterdam, while berthing with pilot and tug. STEEL SCIENTIST, from Calcutta, had slight indentation at stem. QUEEN CITY had stern counter plating on port side indented.
10/7/53: From heavy weather 7/53 - 8/53, rudder blade and rudder post partially renew, together with sundry damages; repairs and drydocking at Mobile.
6/8/54: From grounding 4/17/53, 34 ft of bilge keel renewed, together with sundry damages, tanks steamed and cleaned; repairs and drydocking at Baltimore.
5/29/59: From Djibouti, STEEL SCIENTIST, having arrived 5/27, unable to leave owing to engine breakdown. Duration of detention unknown, but it has been ascertained that vessel has damage to high pressure turbine, possibly broken blade. Now stripping turbine.
5/30/59: Turbine breakdown traced to disengaged securing screw of first stage diaphragm. Three other diaphragm securing screws loosened but no damage to rotor.
6/2/59: Steamer STEEL SCIENTIST sailed between 12 and 1 AM; turbine repairs completed satisfactorily.
2/18/60: At Halifax, in 70 ft. of water several hundred yards off Berth 27, steamer STEEL SCIENTIST, Djakarta for New Orleans, lost her five ton anchor and two or three links of anchor chain in the morning. The vessel left for Boston that night. A diver is attempting to recover the anchor.
5/1/62: Grounded while on passage from Baltimore to New York.
9/5/62: From New York, in consequence of damage sustained 5/1/62 from grounding: One bottom plate renew and four partially renew, internals straighten and partially renew, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs deferred. No temporary repairs were considered necessary.
3/18/64: Steamer STEEL SCIENTIST, Chittagong for Houston, and Liberian steamer PRESIDENT PRETORIUS, Lourenco Marques for Port Sudan, in collision in Djibouti Roads in PM. PRESIDENT PRETORIUS sailed for Port Sudan; understood slight damage.
3/19/64: STEEL SCIENTIST in port at Djibouti badly holed Nos. 1, 2 and 3 above waterline. Survey now in progress. Surveyor anticipates vessel should proceed to Aden for temporary repairs before continuing voyage to New York.
3/20/64: From Djibouti, STEEL SCIENTIST badly holded above waterline Nos. 2 and 3 holds and now in port. Steamer PRESIDENT PRETORIUS proceeded for Port Sudan after collision; understand damage slight. Lloyd's survey now in progress behalf STEEL SCIENTIST, necessitating discharge of some 600 tons of jute, after which surveyor anticipates vessel must proceed Aden for temporary repairs before continuing passage to New York. STEEL SCIENTIST radioed PRESIDENT PRETORIUS holding her responsible and message received also Port Sudan agents instructed deliver master letter of Reserves.
3/22/64: STEEL SCIENTIST left Djibouti for Aden.
3/22/64: STEEL SCIENTIST arrived Aden.
3/23/64: From Aden: Surveyor reports stated collision with steamer PRESIDENT PRETORIUS while entering pilotage at Djibouti at 10:32 PM March 18, shell plating badly indented and pierced port side abreast Nos. 2 and 3 holds; confirmed five shell plates first and second below sheer, associated frames, approximately 25 beams and knees indented and buckled, also No. 2 port upper 'tween deck set up over 35 ft. Now effecting temporary repairs for passage to New York.
3/27/64: From Aden: Surveyor reports temporary repairs completed on STEEL SCIENTIST and vessel proceeded for New York, and Houston, via Djibouti this afternoon.
5/28/64: From New York: Steamer STEEL SCIENTIST, damaged alleged sustained 3/18/64 in consequence of collision with steamer PRESIDENT PRETORIUS near Djibouti: Port side thirteen shell plates renew and three fair, internals straighten and partially renew, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs carried out at Galveston.
9/30 - 10/1/66: Heavy weather while en route from Calcutta to Chittagong.
10/5/66: From Chittagong: Steamer STEEL SCIENTIST, Calcutta for Houston, due to heavy weather, port and starboard fore end framing buckled. Port side plating holed two inches by 18 in. and forward bulkhead stiffeners buckled. Survey arranged at agent's request.
10/6/66: STEEL SCIENTIST left Chittagong for Pussur Anchorage.
12/22/66: From New York: From damage sustained 9/30 - 10/1/66 in consequence of encountering heavy weather while on passage from Calcutta to Chittagong: No. 4 'tween deck one shell plate renew and two fair, adjacent plating fair, internals straighten and partially renew, one lighting panel box remove and fair, three switches renew, 300 ft. of cargo battens and fifty batten clips renew, items of equipment and stores renew by owners, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs completed. Damage in the 'tween-deck area is alleged resultant upon vehicular cargo breaking adrift during heavy weather.
8/3/67: Steamer STEEL SCIENTIST, Galveston for Calcutta, inwards from New Orleans, grounded Buoy 11, Buttermilk Channel, New York, and refloated with no reported damage. Vessel berthed at Shed 3, Erie Basin, Brooklyn.
1/15 - 16/68: Damaged in consequence of encountering heavy weather.
2/11/68: Further heavy weather damage.
7/19/68: From New York: From damage alleged sustained in consequence of heavy weather 1/15 - 16/68 and 2/11/68: Two keel plates renew, one bottom plate part renew, two bottom plates fair, internals straighten and partially renew, tanks clean, vessel dry dock, and three hatch tarpaulins renew, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs completed.
5/1/69: Damaged at Madras, voyage New York for Calcutta, in consequence of propeller and rudder fouling by a mooring line.
7/3/69: From New York: From damage alleged sustained 5/1/69 at Madras when propeller and rudder fouled by mooring line: Propeller fairwater cone renew, propeller remove, tailshaft draw for examination and repair, propeller refit, rudder remove, fractures vee-out and weld up, rudder alignment check, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs completed.
9/9/69: Damaged from collision with barge AMAR 2 at Calcutta.
4/10/70: Steamer STEEL SCIENTIST, damage alleged sustained on 9/9/69 in consequence of collision with barge AMAR 2 at Calcutta: Propeller remove, recondition, repitch and balance, tailshaft and thrust bearing examine, stern bush rewood, rudder post fractures weld, together with sundry damages and removals. Drydocking necessary. Permanent repairs completed, excluding propeller reconditioning; owners elected to fits vessel's spare propeller at this time. Owner's work requiring drydocking carried out concurrently with these casualty repairs.

Disposition DateComments
1971Sold to Taiwan Shipbreakers, arriving at Kaohsiung 7/9/71. Scrapped 7/71 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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