Were Seamanship Skills Really Better Back in the Day?
Came across this the other day the record of the S.S. Steel Director
Seems like a lot of incidents.
Gross Tonnage: 8,023 Net: 4,687
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 Shaft Engine Builder: Westinghouse Electric & Mfg. Co.
Navigation: DF, ESD, GC, RDR, RT Decks, etc.: 2 Decks & Open Shelter Deck
Began Isthmian Service: 1947 Ended Isthmian Service: 1971
----------------------------------- Vessel History -----------------------------------
Sea Marlin US War Shipping Administration, operated by Grace Line as Army Troopship
New Orleans USWB
Sea Marlin US Maritime Commission
New Orleans US
Steel Director Isthmian Lines, Inc.
New York US
4/21/43: Keel laid.
1/31/44: Completed conversion to a transport (2,111 troops) by builders for operation by WSA.
5/2/46: To U.S. Maritime Commission, laid up in Reserve Fleet at Lee Hall, VA in James River.
1946: Conversion contract awarded to J.K. Welding Co., Yonkers, NY, at a cost of $300,000.
3/47: As a result of heavy weather damage, 6 plates and internals renewed, 2 plates partially renewed and tanks steamed; repair cost $19,570.
7/11/50: On voyage Galveston to Haifa, hit pier at Gulfport, MS. Renew piles and fenders, straighten prop blades and renew fractured shaft; repair cost $2,185.
10-12/50: Heavy weather damage to rudder, boats and fittings; repaired at Houston.
4/20 - 4/21/51: Heavy weather destroyed accomodation ladder on voyage Calcutta to Boston. Renew 1 aluminum ladder at ladder platforms, repair platform guide and renew 2 hatch tarps.
8/2 - 8/3/51: Heavy weather damaged lifeboats. Repair #2 lifeboat davit arm, 7 hatch tarps and 4 lifeboat covers; repairs at Baltimore.
8/20/52: On voyage Houston to Calcutta, hit Congress Street Wharf, New Orleans, LA, damaging 6 pilings and 14 timbers.
2/1/55: Hit submerged object damaging propeller.
7/12/55: From hitting submerged object 2/1/55, fair propeller blades; drydocking and repairs at New York.
10/18/55: From hitting submerged object 2/1/55, recondition propeller, install spare propeller, draw tailshaft for examination, together with sundry damages; drydocking and repairs at Galveston.
8/9/57: While on voyage from Baltimore and Saigon to Bangkok, struck a submerged obstruction.
12/1/57: On voyage from Baltimore and Phillipines to Surabaya and Singapore, propeller struck submerged object.
3/31/58: From striking submerged obstruction 8/9/57, 1 keel plate partially renew, shell plates port and starboard in way of A strake fair, plates in way of starboard C strake fair, tanks steam, clean and test, together with sundry damages and removals. From propeller striking submerged object 12/1/57, repair propeller blading, spare propeller installer, stern bushings rewood, tailshaft draw for examination, together with sundry damages and removals. All repairs completed at Galveston.
5/18/58: Struck submerged object on passage from Mobile to New Orleans.
4/15/59: From damage sustained 5/18/58 from striking submerged object on passage from Mobile to New Orleans: Propeller recondition, tailshaft Magnaflux, stern bushing rewood, rudder remove, rudder plating partially renew, rudder realign, gudgeon casting fracture weld, gudgeon bushings rewood, pintle sleeves renew, carrier bearing thrust ring renew, quadrant machine, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs at Baltimore.
12/24/59: At Chittagong, collided with steamer PYIDAWNYUNT, with little or no damage.
12/27/59: Left Chittagong for Calcutta.
10/27/60: Grounded in the Houston Ship Channel while on round voyage No. 14 from Galveston to Galveston(sic) in loaded condition.
1/25/61: From Suez, steamer STEEL DIRECTOR, Calcutta for Houston, reported aground in sandstorm in morning at Km. 154, Suez Canal. Vessel refloated at 4:30 PM with Suez Canal tug assistance and now moored at Km. 154. Understood will be towed to Suez on account of rudder damage.
1/26/61: Steamer STEEL DIRECTOR towed to Suez by Suez Canal tugs at 4:50 PM.
1/28/61: From Port Said, surveyor reports rudder fractured at top below coupling, and diver stated bent to starboard at bottom and to port at top. Rudder head, stock and steering machinery possibly damaged. Vessel stated to have struck Suez Canal bank at Km. 154.4 while mooring at 10:23 AM, 1/25/61, on account of ships stopped ahead in canal, when rudder slightly damaged. Vessel struck bank again during refloating at 6 PM, 1/25/61 when rudder further damaged. Permanant repairs not practical at Suez. Owners propose towing vessel to Port Said to discharge cargo and possibly remove rudder for towing to Italian repair port. Rudder now being lashed.
2/9/61: From Port Said, seaworthy certificate granted and vessel sailed at 3 PM in tow of salvage vessel SVITZER for Palermo after discharging 857 tons of Port Said cargo only.
2/17/61: Steamer STEEL DIRECTOR arrived Palermo in tow for permanent repairs of grounding damage sustained in Suez Canal on 1/25/61. Owner’s representative states spare rudder, propeller, propeller shaft and hydralic steering gear pump available to replace damaged part. Vessel partially loaded. Arranging to drydock to complete survey and repairs.
2/20/61: STEEL DIRECTOR in drydock. Rudder and stock removed. Rudder frame, broken in two places, beyond repair; owner’s fitting reconditioned spare. Stern frame and stock to be further examined but appear in order. Drawing propeller shaft for examination and fitting another propeller. Survey continuing.
2/25/61: Propeller shaft examined and found satisfactory. Now fitting owner’s reconditioned propeller and rudder; expect complete 2/28/61. Owner’s now clain heavy weather damage to bottom shell plating which extensively waved on whole flat bottom. Propose complete survey and defer repairs. Time and place of damage not yet established but stated subsequent to last docking in February 1960.
3/2/61: From Palermo, repairs completed and vessel sailed. Deferred bottom damage now claimed due to stranding at Houston on 10/27/60.
7/14/61: Struck the lock wall of Cote Ste. Catherine Lock while transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway en route from Montreal to Kenosha, Wisconsin in ballast. Struck lock wall of Lower and Upper Beauharnois Locks while transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway.
8/31/61: From New York, STEEL DIRECTOR due in Baltimore 9/6/61 to effect deferred repairs for stranding damage sustained 10/27/60.
10/17/61: From damage alleged sustained 10/27/60 in consequence of grounding in Houston Ship Channel: Ten bottom shell plates renew, six partially renew and eight fair, adjacent seams and butts fair, frames, floors, intercostals and brackets straighten and partially renew, double bottom tanks steam, clean and gas-free, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs completed at Baltimore. From striking the lock wall of Cote Ste. Catherine Lock 7/14/61: Nine port side shell plates renew and partially renew, adjacent seams and butts fair, frames, stringers, brackets and bulkheads straighten and partially renew, settling tanks clean, gas-free and test, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs completed at Baltimore. It is to be noted that a number of side shell plates within areas of the foregoing damage had been set in between frames in several locations on some previous occasion or occasions. From striking lock wall of Lower and Upper Beauharnois Locks 7/14/61: Ten starboard side shell plates renew, two partially renew and one fair, adjacent seams and butts fair, frames, stringers, brackets and bulkheads straighten and partially renew, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs completed at Baltimore. It is to be noted that a number of side shell plates within the areas of the foregoing damage had been set in from frames in several locations on some previous occasion or occasions.
9/10/63: No.1 generator turbine damaged in consequence of alleged engineer’s negligence in allowing the boilers to prime and carry over while the vessel was on passage from Madras to Calcutta.
12/2/63: From New York: From damage alleged sustained 9/10/63 in consequence of alleged engineer’s negligence: No. 1 main generator turbine rotor, together with all diaphragms, interstage packing, etc., renew, together with sundry damages and removals. Repairs partially completed and partially deferred.
6/7/68: Steamer STEEL DIRECTOR damaged striking submerged object in Mississippi River while en route from Baton Rouge to Houston, and Calcutta.
7/2/68: From New York: From damage sustained 6/7/68 in consequence of striking submerged object in Mississippi River: Propeller remove, recondition and store, tailshaft disconnect, draw in and examine, liner dress, gland repack, spare propeller install and outer stern bearing rewood and bore, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs completed.
3/5 - 8/69: Damaged in heavy weather while en route from Porto Grande, Cape Verde Islands. to New York and New Orleans.
4/15/69: From New York: From heavy weather damage alleged sustained 3/5 - 8/69: Two five ton cargo booms and one 50 ton boom with rigging renew, deck plating, sheerstrake plating, pipeguards, guardrails, poop and shelter deck wooden awning and supports and fittings straighten and partially renew and removals and replacements, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs completed. Port side signal halyard mast remove to shop and repair and partially renew, radio aerials renew, kingpost cowl partially renew, boat deck wood awning renew, port bridge wing awning partially renew, two lifeboat covers renew, galley tiling partially renew, fractures on shelter deck vee-out and weld, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs partially deferred, partially completed.
8/5/69: From New York: From damage alleged sustained 3/5 - 8/69 in consequence of encountering heavy weather while on passage from Porto Grande to New York: Remove fractured tailshaft and install spare, renew outer sections of stern tube bushing, pad weld and rewood stern tube, renew skeg bushing and machine lower pintle on rudder and vee-out and weld fractures in rudder plating and rudder post; repairs completed.
1/7/70: From Saigon: STEEL DIRECTOR grounded.
6/23/70: Steamer STEEL DIRECTOR, Saigon for Seattle, arrived Yokohama.
6/24/70: From Yokohama: STEEL DIRECTOR damaged from collision with barge.
6/26/70: STEEL DIRECTOR sailed Yokohama.
8/7/70: From London: The following report has been received from San Francisco dated 8/7/70: Steamer STEEL DIRECTOR: Collision with a barge on 6/24/70 and grounding on 1/9/70: Surveyor attending at Todd Shipyards Corp, Seattle.
8/17/70: From Vancouver: Steamer STEEL DIRECTOR, damage alleged sustained (1) on 1/7/70 (before reported as 1/9/70) in consequence of grounding at Saigon and (2) in June in consequence of barge striking propeller at Yokohama: (2) Propeller to be removed, owner’s spare installed and damaged propeller to be repaired and placed in stowage, propeller shaft to be removed for examination and to facilitate fitting to spare propeller, necessary drydocking, etc; repairs completed. No damage found attributable to first incident.
9/9/70: From Sattahip: Steamer STEEL DIRECTOR, arrived Sattahip from Tacoma, with economiser by-pass line starboard boiler and economiser plug port boiler both leaking and failure of ship’s domestic refrigeration system.
9/12/70: Steamer STEEL DIRECTOR left Sattahip for Qui Nhon.
Disposition Date Comments
1971 Delivered to Taiwan Shipbreakers, arriving at Kaohsiung prior to 6/10/71, having left Saigon 5/17/71. Scrapped 6/71 Kaohsiung. Reported 7/71: Sold to the Republic of China (Taiwan) for Scrapping.