SS Sackets Harbor...............Photos

SS Sackets Harbor

About SS Sackets Harbor

Wikipedia: SS Sackett's Harbor or SS Sackets Harbor, a T2 tanker, was built in August 1943 and served the United States Merchant Marine during World War II. Sackets Harbor survived the war basically unscathed, but on 1 March 1946 while sailing between Yokosuka and Balboa, she broke in half about 800 miles southwest of Adak, Alaska. The bow of the ship sunk but the stern continued to float. The stern section was able to get to Adak under her own power. The only reported fatalities were two cats.

The ship was later towed to Anchorage, Alaska where she served as Anchorage's first major power source. The ship's electric drive supplied about 55% of Anchorage's electricity requirements from 1946 to 1955. In 1955, she was replaced by the Eklutna Dam.

The ship was given a new bow around 1957 and was rechristened as SS Angelo Petri. She was fitted with stainless steel tanks and hauled wine for the Associated Vintners from Stockton, California through the Panama Canal to the East Coast.

She was renamed Californian in 1970, and then Sea Chemist in 1975 when she was sold to Antilles Navegacion S.A., of Panama. She was sold for scrapping in early 1978 and was broken up at Vinaros.

Account of E. W. Hubbard

As a fresh graduate from the U.S. Maritime Service training facility in Avalon, Catalina Island, I boarded SS Sackets Harbor on April 13, 1945 as an able seaman (AB). It was the day after President Roosevelt died. The T2 tanker vessel was topped off with Navy Bunker 2 and we left San Pedro for what turned out to be nearly a year-long voyage until we broke in two March 1, 1946.

When the ship parted I had been promoted to Maintenance AB and shared a cabin on the aft upper deck with the Boatswain, Ray North.  In the upper bunk I was thrown up to the ceiling when the break occurred about 2300(+/-) hours. Looking forward, there was nothing but steam amidships, but on the starboard was our bow. We continued under way for some time and soon lost sight of the bow section. After checking the hull for no rupture of the exposed tank bulkheads (which was now our bow), there was a little less concern for the ship's safety.

With no radio or other electronic communications, we were adrift in the Northern Pacific. But we had power, lights, food and cooks, so things were reasonably good, as long as the exposed bulkheads held. Our Engineering staff trimmed the ballast in the tanks to lift the bow and lessen the strain there. Weather was not good; low ceiling, squalls, with snow flurries and strong wind. It was also poor visibility if anyone was looking for us. To help locate us at night, we focused our deck lights upwards in the clouds to extend our visibility. I don't know if that helped or not but we were located about 5 days later at night. By daybreak we had a Russian ship loaded with railroad engines and a British cargo ship alongside.

After the bow section was located, and our Captain and crew rescued, all were returned to the stern section. A tug was sent to tow us to Adak Alaska, about 600 miles. Under tow by the stern we kept pulling out and away from behind the tug, the keel had been bent about 45 degrees and acted as a rudder (Photo) and the tug was too fast. After the tow line had parted the second time the Captain retained control of the ship and we sailed bow first to Adak, steering from the aft wheel on the upper deck with some canvas shelter but still exposed to the weather. Arriving in Adak, the ship was prepared for the cold weather. After about a month a skeleton crew remained on the ship and the rest were transported to Seattle on the converted Hospital ship George Washington Carver.


Sackets Harbor Stack Deck

Sloppy Joes Pub

Sackets Harbor Bow Sinking

Sackets Harbor Life Boat


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