Cargo Liner Timeline

(You can read more about the cargo liners by also reading The Company's Timeline)



Along with Albert Moore, Emmet McCormack chartered the S.S. Montara (built in 1881 in Chester, Pennsylvania, by J. Roach & Son, 315.6 feet long, 39.2 feet beam, and 21.8 feet deep.  She was of 1,695 net tons and 2,562 gross, had two decks, five bulkheads, and 217 nominal horsepower)Moore & McCormack Company, Inc., entered the steamship business with a contract on the Montara to haul dynamite from Wilmington, Delaware, to Brasil.

January 13, 1917

S.S. Saga, Mooremack's first passenger operation left for South America.  The Saga was built in 1909 in Newcastle, England, by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, and was of 2,809 gross tons.  She was of steel, 322.4 feet long, 46.2 feet beam and 19.5 feet draft.  She had a well deck and two other decks, had electric lights and refrigerating equipment.  Enrico Caruso was her most famous passenger.

March 23, 1919

Mooremack's ship, the Jekyl, was the first ship that penetrated beyond Brasil, adding Montevideo, Uruguay, to the itinerary. 

June 18, 1921

Moore & McCormack Company, Inc. begins operation between Philadelphia and Cork, Dublin and Londonderry.  S.S. West Gambo was the first to sail.


Jesse R. Hodges became skipper of the Commercial Mariner.

February 10, 1926

Crew of the Danish motor ship, Pinto, sailing off the coast of Denmark was saved during a stiff gale and high seas by the American steamship Casper, owned by the United States Shipping Board and operated by Moore & McCormack.  Harold Bill, master of the freighter, did not give any details of the rescue, simply stating that the Pinto was a vessel of 500 tons and had sent out an SOS that she was sinking 120 miles off Lyndenaes, the southernmost tip of Norway.  The Pinto was a new vessel for the coastwise trade between Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, and sank a short while after the crew had been rescued.

The Pinto was the sixth freighter which had foundered in the storms since January 26.

October 16, 1926

Anxiety was expressed today over the fate of the steamship Haleakala of the American Republic line.  Miss Charlotte Pratt, sister of the commander of the Haleakala, Captain John Pratt, announced that she had been unable to get definite news of the vessel which was due at Montevideo from Norfolk on September 24.

Moore & McCormack, Inc., told The Associated Press that they tried repeatedly to reach the Haleakala by radio, and that attempts of other vessels in southern waters brought no response.  Moore & McCormack is not giving up hope and believe they will hear from the ship soon.

December 29, 1926

A Will written on the letterhead of Moore & McCormack Company, Inc., steamship agents, and made on January 6, 1926, on the steamship Natirar at sea, was filed today in the Surrogates' Court.  The Will was written by Richard K. McLeod, second officer of the Natirar, who drowned off the coast of Florida on October 27, 1926.  The beneficiary of the Will was Miss Elizabeth Samuel, who at the time was the fiancée of Richard McLeod, who later became his wife. 

The Will stated, "In explanation, I desire to state that the said Elizabeth has a natural interest in my affairs, since I have asked her to honor me by becoming my wife and she has most graciously consented.  Hence all that I now possess or may ever possess by right belongs solely to her and to her alone.  I have no other kin or kin who have any claim on me whatsoever."

August 24, 1927

Moore & McCormack buys five ships of Garland Line carrying lumber from Grays Harbor to East Coast.  The Garland ships, the William Campion, James B. Duke, George Allen, Edgar Bowling, and William Perkins, are of 8,800 ton capacity.

A new organization will be called the Calmar Steamship Company and will enter the intercoastal trade between New York and Philadelphia and Pacific coast ports via the Panama Canal.  The steamers are joined by two others which were turned over from the Bethlehem Steel Corporation fleet.  Ten ships inducted into the service in September are as follows:  Cubore, Commercial Spirit, Commercial Traveler, Commercial Pathfinder, Calmar, Pennmar, Massmar, Oakmar, Texmar and Yorkmar.

October 1928

The arrival of five Scandinavian passengers on the steamer, Argosy, raises hope that the Port of Baltimore may be revived as a major passenger terminal.  The Argosy of the American Scantic Line owned and operated by Moore & McCormack, was the first ship in many years that has brought Scandinavian passengers directly from Scandinavia. 

December 1, 1929

Three pilots of the harbor of St. John's, N.F., lost their lives when they went to the aid of the American Scantic liner Saguache in rough weather.  Although a pilot was able to board the steamer Saguache, the pilot boat veered off in the darkness and was not seen again, carrying three pilots, the sole support of large families, to a watery grave, leaving the widows and helpless orphans to face the long Newfoundland winter alone.

In July 1930, Moore & McCormack, agents of the Line, forwarded a check for $2,850.25 supplementing earlier contributions to the families, to the harbor master at St. John's.  An additional check for $500 was forwarded by Moore & McCormack after receiving a letter from the harbor master at John's.  Checks totaling $125 were also sent by the Sandy Hook Pilots' Association and Savannah Bar Pilots.

December 18, 1929

A sale of $31,000 was approved of the government freighter, Lake Elkwater, to Moore & McCormack, Inc., for service in the coastwise trade. 

November 1930

Captain H. Nielsen, master of the Secundo, was bound from Galveston to Montreal when he sighted the motor vessel, Jupie of Yarmouth, N.S., 200 miles east of Cape May in a sinking condition and altered his course to go to her assistance.

When they were alongside the foundering vessel, he lowered a lifeboat, and three men were taken from the small motor vessel in an exhausted condition.  The Jupie had been bound from Bermuda to Yarmouth, N.S., and they had been drifting helplessly for seven days with very little food and water, after their engine broke down. 

The Secundo formerly was the Sud Uruguay, operated in the South American trade by Garcia & Diaz, and her name was changed when she was taken over by Moore & McCormack to run between New York and the River Plate with five other motorships of 8,000 gross tonnage. 

December 3, 1930

Lunch was held aboard Schenectady wherein the Ford Motor Company celebrated the first shipment of automobile bodies from its new export plant at Edgewater, New Jersey.  The Schenectady was docked at Edgewater with 1,500 Ford bodies in her hold.  She will sail on Friday for Copenhagen.  The bodies will then be fitted with motors manufactured in Manchester, England.  Robert C. Lee presided at the luncheon.

June 1931

The Minequa arrived in New York with a cargo of lumber from Soviet Russia and is being held at anchor off the Statue of Liberty pending the decision from the Treasury Department as to whether planks were cut by prison labor.

December 1, 1933

In Baltimore, 20 stevedores attempted to board the Commercial Alabaman and prevent its unloading by non-union workmen.  Seven hundred striking longshoremen gathered in the vicinity of the pier to demonstrate against the employment of non-union workmen by the Moore & McCormack Company, owners of the Commercial Alabaman.  The stevedores quietly approached the end of the pier in a small power boat and were able to scramble aboard a motor barge tied up there before police spotted them.  After a scuffle the stevedores were overpowered.


Jesse R. Hodges was serving as master on the Commercial Traveler when the ship was sold by Moore-McCormack to the Colombian Government. The Government wanted the ship for military operations since Colombia was involved in a border dispute with Peru. The Colombian Government asked Captain Hodges to remain in command of the ship at twice the salary. Captain Hodges agreed and sailed the vessel to Philadelphia and recruited an American crew. The crew signed on for six months and were provided Colombian uniforms.

At Puerto Colombia, 2,000 troops boarded the ship which had become the Cucata. The Cucata set out for the Peruvian border by way of the Amazon River. The vessel was the flagship of the expedition which consisted of 13 ships. He sailed more than 2,000 miles up the Amazon. When Peru and Colombia called off the dispute, the expedition was ordered back to the Caribbean.

Paid off, the skipper and his crew returned home, whereby Captain Hodges rejoined Moore-McCormack. Throughout World War II, he served on the Mormacmoon. He saw a lot of action, but never received a scratch. When the Captain is ashore on leave he spends it on his farm which is run by his wife and two sons. As a farmer, the Captain is especially proud of his prize herd of beef cattle.

May 14, 1937

With the arrival of the City of Fairbury of the American Scantic Line in port, officials of Moore & McCormack announced they had contracted with Bethlehem Shipyards to renovate seven freighter ships which it operates between New York and Baltic ports.  A shelter deck will be built on each ship, adding about 80,000 cubic feet per ship at a total cost of $1,000,000.  The entire fleet will be back in service by June 30.

The addition of the freighter, Cliffwood, to the South American service was also announced today.  She just left the Bethlehem yard in Baltimore after having been rebuilt and will sail June 15 for Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Montevideo, and Rosario.  The Cliffwood will operate with the freighters, Uruguayo, Argentino, and Paraguayo in this service.

August 17, 1938

The Maritime Commission made an agreement with Moore & McCormack Company to take over the charter of the American Republic Line between East Coast ports in North and South America.  The fleet will consist of ten cargo vessels and the luxury liners, California, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, formerly operated by the Panama-Pacific Line between New York and West Coast ports.  Moore & McCormack will pay a monthly rental for the vessels of $36,600 for three years.

Admiral Land, Chairman of the Commission said, "The addition of these three luxury liners to the steamship service to the east coast of South America is one of the most important steps that could be taken in cementing goodwill in developing trade relations and a better understanding between the citizens of North and South America ... We look forward with confidence to a rapid increase in travel between the Americas on this new and good-neighbor fleet.  For us in the United States and Canada, the South American countries hold vast trade possibilities as well as exciting adventure in an ideal travel land."

September 29, 1938

The United States Maritime Commission announced that a fortnightly freight service between the east coasts of North and South America will be started today by a fleet of six cargo ships of the American Republics Line under the management of the Moore-McCormack Lines, Inc.  Two of the ships, Mormacstar and Mormacsea have been transferred from the American Scantic Line service to the new South American service.  The other ships which were managed by C.H. Sprague & Co. are as follows:  Culberson to Mormacrey; West Salene to Mormacrio, Angelus to Mormacsul, and West Calumb to Mormacmar.

September 30, 1938

The Mormacsea, under command of Captain Harry Miller, departed Pier D, Jersey City, New Jersey, for South America.

January 1939

The Cliffwood severed a cable across the Gulf of Finland to Estonia by entangling the cableship's anchor when the Cliffwood anchored near Aransgrund lightship.  The same cable subsequently was severed in other places, and officials in Helsingfors, Finland, are convinced the damage was caused by the Soviet Navy in dragging after a sunken submarine, and they believe the submarine itself is lying on the cable.  Measures will be taken to sue the Soviet Government for damages.

January 1939

Captain Albert P. Spaulding has been named master of the first of the six new freighters under construction for the American Scantic Line in Chester, Pennsylvania. He has been named master of the Donald McKay which sails from New York on June 17 to Scandinavian and Baltic ports. The captain had just recently commanded the Scanmail.

January 12, 1939

The keel for the Mormacgull (Hull No. 179) was laid at Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Chester, Pennsylvania.

Moore & McCormack Company placed a $2,500 a month bid to the Maritime Commission to charter the motor ship, West Cusseta, which is now tied up at Hoboken, New Jersey.

June 14, 1939

The Donald McKay developed minor engine difficulty during her sea trials, therefore, she will not leave on her maiden voyage Saturday after June 16.  A miscalculation on the part of the marine engineers who specified the motors had resulted in two breakdowns during the trial and the vessel was forced to return to the builder's yards at Chester, Pennsylvania.  The mishap involved the air pump attached to and deriving its power from the engine itself, deviating from the usual custom of an air pump separately powered.  Commission designers expect to improve the mechanism without changing the basic set-up.

June 16, 1939

The Mormacwren, third of a new fleet of six C-3 sister cargo-passenger liners owned by Mooremack was launched in the yard of Sun Ship Shipbuilding and Drydock Company at Chester, Pennsylvania.  Miss Mary Aldrich, daughter of Winthrop W. Aldrich, Chairman of the Board of the Chase National Bank, New York City, sponsored the event. 

July 6, 1939

The Mormacdove, fourth of a new fleet of six C-3 sister cargo-passenger liners owned by Mooremack was launched in the yard of Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company.  Miss Alice W. Clement, daughter of Martin W. Clement, President of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, officiated at the ceremony.

August 28, 1939

The Mormacgull, fifth of a new fleet of six C-3 sister cargo-passenger liners was launched in the yard of Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, and sponsored by Miss Barbara Ann Moore, daughter of Albert V. Moore.  The vessel was equipped with one 2-stroke, 4 cylinder single-acting Doxford Diesel delivering 6,000 i.h.p. and had a speed of 15.5 knots.

September 1939

The City of Flint, under the command of Captain Joseph A. Gainard, rescued 200 survivors of the torpedoed British passenger liner, S.S. Athenia.

September 18, 1939

The Mormaclark, the last of a new fleet of six C-3 sister cargo-passenger liners owned by Mooremack was launched in the yard of Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company.  Miss Anne Perry Woodward, daughter of Thomas W. Woodward, a member of the U.S. Maritime Commission, sponsored the ship.  The Mormaclark is 430 feet long overall, 63 feet in the beam and has a deadweight tonnage of 8,875.  She can have a speed of 16 to 17 knots with a cruising radius of 13,000 miles.  She has 534,000 cubic feet of cargo space and about 40,000 cubic feet of refrigeration.

October 9, 1939

The City of Flint, a neutral ship commanded by Joseph Aloysius Gainard, was carrying 4,000 tons of lubricating oil from New York to Great Britain.  The German pocket battleship, Deutschland, fired a shot across her bow and seized her about 1,200 miles out of New York declaring the cargo to be contraband and the ship a prize of war.  The City of Flint was the first American ship captured by the Germans during World War II.

October 25, 1939

Fourteen Mooremack flag ships were sold to the Brasilian Government as part of President Roosevelt's good neighbor policy.  The total price of the vessels was $3,500,000.  The vessels which were sold had been operated chiefly by the Scantic Lines in European service.  They were as follows:  Scanstates, Scanyork, Scanpenn, Scanmail, Mormacport, Mormacsea, Mormacstar, Mormacsun, Mormactide, Commercial Bostonian, Southland, Southfolk, Southlure, and Southerner.

November 3, 1939

Because the City of Flint was a neutral ship and was captured by the Germans, she was turned away at Norwegian and Russian ports for various reasons.  When the ship again tried to enter Norway, the Norwegian government again refused entry, but had no choice but to let her enter because the Royal Navy was closing in on the City of Flint.  The Norwegian Admiralty then interned the German crew and three days later returned the ship to Captain Gainard's command.  Captain Gainard received the Navy Cross for "extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy."

November 28, 1939

The Rio Hudson, first of four sisters, was laid down as Hull No. 186 at Chester, Pennsylvania.  Her Maritime Commission number was 59.  The ship was scheduled for completion and delivery by October 6, 1940.

The Rio Hudson class sisters, CP3, would have indirect lighting and air conditioning.  They were to be the world's first fully air conditioned ships and would have a permanent projection room and all electric kitchens.  There was to be a crew of 155 officers and men on each ship, accommodations for 196 First Class passengers.  The ships were 492 feet long overall, 465 feet long between perpendiculars, 69.5 feet in beam (moulded), 42.5 feet in depth and a draft as much as 27 feet 4 inches.  The ships had two overall decks with a third deck broken up by machinery spaces.  Eight watertight compartments with a two-compartment stability.  They were expected to register between 8,030 and 8,500 gross tons and were designed to lift 6,365 tons of cargo in five holds.  Mooremack wanted to include the new "Cargocaire" ventilating system for the ships' holds to ensure correct humidity and to prevent "sweating in or on the cargo."

The ships were designed with a cruising range of 18,000 miles and were to complement the S.S. Argentina, S.S. Brazil, and S.S. Uruguay.  Names of the ships were chosen having a prefix for the Spanish and Portuguese word for river - "Rio."  The prefix "Mormac" indicated freighters.

December 18, 1939

The Mormacdove while docked in Boston after her maiden voyage, reported she was halted several days ago by an unidentified ship 15 miles off Rio de Janeiro.  A searchlight was used to prevent officers and men from seeing what kind of ship ordered them to halt.  The Mormacdove was permitted to proceed as soon as the American flag was illuminated.

December 21, 1939

The Mormacrey went aground off Tinicum Island in the Delaware River in a heavy fog.  The ship lost her way trying to reach a berth at Port Richmond. 

December 28, 1939

The keel of the Rio Parana went onto the ways at the Sun Shipbuilding yards as Hull No. 187.  The Maritime Commission gave her number 60.  She had been blessed by His Eminence Dennis Cardinal Dougherty, Archbishop of Philadelphia.  Miss Kay Lee of Brooklyn, New York, daughter of Commander Robert C. Lee, Executive Vice President of Moore-McCormack Lines, christened the ship.

December 31, 1939

The Mormacpenn, a C3 freighter, was launched at Pascagoula, Mississippi.

January 8, 1940

It was announced today that the new service between Seattle, San Francisco, and other West Coast ports to eastern ports of South America will be called the Pacific Republics Line.  The City of Flint will be the first ship sailing from Los Angeles on July 15 after loading at Seattle and San Francisco.  She will call at the Panama Canal and Trinidad.  She will be followed by the Collamar and the Independence Hall.

January 12, 1940

The Mormacmail was launched at the yards of the Sun Shipbuilding Company.  Miss Diane Holt, the 16-year old daughter of George L. Holt, vice president of Mooremack, named the ship in the presence of 3,000 persons.  The Mormacmail is 492 feet long, 69 feet in the beam and 33 feet deep.  She will weigh 11,735 deadweight tons and will have a speed of 17 to 18 knots.

The Mormacpenn sailed for sea trials from the Sun Shipbuilding Company.

The new cargo-passenger liner, Mormacpenn, will be commanded by Captain Edward C. Barrett. The Mormacpenn is the first of four C-3 vessels and was followed down the ways by the Mormacyork, Mormacland, and Mormacmail.

Captain Albert P. Spaulding, master of the Donald McKay, will stay ashore indefinitely to "stand by" four new passenger liners under construction. Captain John O. Ottesen will move from the freighter, Mormactide, to the Donald McKay, and be replaced by Captain Eric C. Petrelius of the Scanpenn.

January 13, 1940

The new freighter, Flying Cloud, sailed from New York for Pernambuco, Bahia, Santos, Rio Grande do Sul and Buenos Aires.  The Flying Cloud was a C-2 vessel, designed by the Maritime Commission's technical staff.

The Mormacpenn, Mormacyork, Mormacmail and Mormacland which had accommodations for 10 or 12 passengers were all C-3 classification and they followed the Flying Cloud.  The four vessels were selected for the service because of their unusual speed for freighters.  They were designed to make 17 or 18 knots and were 492 feet long, with 623,500 cubic feet of cargo space.

January 19, 1940

The third Rio Hudson class sister, the Rio de la Plata, was laid down as Hull No. 188 with Maritime Commission No. 61 at the Chester yards. 

January 30, 1940

The Mormactide and Mormacsun arrived at Bergen, the latter after a long delay at the British control station at Kirkwall, Scotland.  Robert C. Lee, Executive Vice President of Moore-McCormack, said that reports from Bergen of the landing of 200 war planes by these ships was absurd.  The Mormactide was the only one that carried planes, Commander Lee stated "Someone looked at the packing cases and forgot that a plane comes shipped in several boxes, not one.  As far as I know, Finland has bought only 40 planes or so in this country.  We have sent over 11 of them, and have 10 more booked for a later ship."

March 8, 1940

The Flying Fish has been acquired from the U.S. Maritime Commission on a charter-purchase plan and set sail for Bergen, Norway.  The Flying Fish is 435 feet long, a 63-foot beam, 8,875 deadweight tons and has a speed of 17 knots.  She has 534,400 cubic feet of cargo space with 40,000 cubic feet of refrigeration space.

March 1940

Captain J. Raymond Hodges who has been with Moore-McCormack since 1927, became master of the Mormacdove and he sailed the vessel for South America. The Mormacdove is one of the new C-2 vessels completed for the Line by the Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company.

March 14, 1940

The Rio de Janeiro, last of the four sisters of the Rio Hudson class was laid down as Hull No. 189.  The Maritime Commission number was 62. 

March 23, 1940

The Maritime Commission announced the charter of three of its new ships to the Moore-McCormack Lines for service between the U.S. Atlantic ports and ports on the east coast of South America.  The vessels are the Lightning, Flying Fish, and Sea Fox.  They will be chartered for five years with the option of purchase.  Captain Harry Miller will command the Sea Fox.  The Sea Fox is 497 feet long, weighs 12,500 tons and has 730,000 bale cubic feet of cargo space, including refrigerated holds.

April 9, 1940

The eighth new vessel completed for Moore-McCormack Lines this year, Mormacyork, C-3, arrived to load cargo for her maiden voyage to South America.  Captain Edward G. Barrett, formerly on the Mormacpenn, has been assigned to command the new vessel. 

Before dawn on this particular morning in Trondheim, a coastal city in Norway, Captain McHale of the Mormacsea was awakened by a voice at his door asking for permission to moor "another ship" alongside his own.   The sleeping American seamen and the sleeping city of Trondheim had been engulfed quietly by a swift-moving and heavily armed German force of marines, soldiers, and seamen.  Captain McHale did not want a German warship moored against him; he was afraid the Germans would be too curious about his cargo, so he refused and said he would move forward 300 feet, which he did.

During the six days in Trondheim, the Captain feared that Norwegian guerrillas would raid his ship to seize three and a half tons of Thompson machine guns which showed on his manifest for Trondheim, but which he had unloaded the week before in Bergen for transshipment to Sweden.  He was also thinking of the millions in Swedish gold that he had taken on in Bergen for New York, which the Germans hadn't time to discover in their perusal of papers at the custom house.

The Captain regretted his inability to aid any of the Americans in the city fearing that an attack by the British would result in a major battle and destruction of the port.  He hoped to bring about 30 American citizens, but the State Department ruled against it. 

Note:  The Mormacsea made her last voyage during this year under the American flag.  She was then sold to the Brasilian Government.

April 11, 1940

Due to the Scandinavian conflict, the Mormacstar was within 1,000 miles of Bergen, and the Mormactide was 600 miles out of New York, when they both received word to return home.  The  ships were en route to Bergen when they received word to return and may stop at Greenland or Iceland and unload their war good. 

April 14, 1940

When the Germans invaded Norway the Mormacsea had not finished unloading or loading her cargo and was captured.  On this date, the 21-year old Mormacsea, formerly the Cliffwood, sailed from Trondheim.  The Germans gave the Captain permission to leave Trondheim, provided he went at his own risk.  Captain William McHale radioed Moore-McCormack that he was clear of Norwegian waters and he had a crew of 38 men on board.   Commander Lee wired Captain McHale not to bring any passengers and to use his own judgment.

The Mormacsea had been in the Scandinavian service since she was acquired by Moore-McCormack and had been one of the American Scantic Line freighters since 1930. 

No word on the new freighter, the Flying Fish, which was on her maiden voyage and was believed to still be in Bergen. 

April 16, 1940

The Donald McKay, a new C-2 cargo liner, arrived in New York after a 6,000-mile run from Buenos Aires in 15 days and 15 hours, which is the fastest time a freighter has ever made on the run.  The ship was under the command of Captain John Otteson, and omitted all stops en route.

April 20, 1940

The Charles R. McCormick, also caught in Northern waters by war activities was seen tied up at Baksdal, a flour milling town about 20 miles from Bergen.  This means that she might clear for home soon.

May 3, 1940

The third American vessel, Flying Fish, with no passengers, cleared Bergen and is en route  to the United States under the command of Captain W. W. Wollaston.  She is expected to arrive today.

May 29, 1940

The new cargo vessel, Lightning, C-2, sailed for South American ports today on her first voyage in the service of the American Republics Line.  She was built at the Federal Shipbuilding Company yards, Kearny, New Jersey.  Previously, the Lightning made one voyage to Australia for the American Pioneer Line.

August 26, 1940

The situation of Latvian freighter, Ciltvaira, chartered by the Ore Steamship Company and embargoed by the Moore-McCormack Company, agents for that company, became more complicated when her captain declared he was ready to sail to Murmansk, Russia, instead of Baltimore, with 6,000 tons of manganese.  It was discovered that the boilers of the Ciltvaira had been stocked with rocks, blackened salt and other debris and one boiler had been damaged.   Before the discovery, five American sailors refused to go to Murmansk and protested to the American Consul.  It was then that the captain's design (due to instructions from the Russian Government) was to head towards Murmansk.  A court order was then obtained from Edmondo Miranda Jordão, counsel for Mooremack, forbidding the Ciltvaira to leave port, and marines were placed aboard when the Latvian crew staged a revolt.  A further order was obtained to debark the Latvian captain and crew and appoint a Brasilian captain and Brasilian crew, who, together with the Americans were due to sail for Baltimore.  It was then the Brasilian captain discovered the sabotage by the Latvian crew.

August 28, 1940

Miss Carlota Sepulveda Chapman, daughter of Princess Pignatelli and a member of an old Spanish family closely associated with the history of California, sponsored the new cargo vessel Mormacsun, C-3,  as she went down the ways of the Moore Shipbuilding Company of Oakland, California.

September 17, 1940

The U.S. Navy negotiated for three more ships from Moore-McCormack Lines, Inc., which already sold the new C-3 cargo liner, Mormacpenn, to the Navy in July.  The three ships are the Donald McKay, the Mormacyork, and the Mormachawk.

October 12, 1940

Mormactide, designed by George C. Sharp, was the first of a fleet of four C-3 cargo vessels which were under construction for the company's American Republics Line service to South America.  The vessel was launched at Ingalls Iron Works at Pascagoula, Mississippi, with Miss Gloria McGehee, daughter of Representative Dan R. McGehee, as sponsor.  The Mormactide was 492 feet long, 69-1/2 feet in the beam and had a speed of 17-1/2 knots.

October 22, 1940

Announcement was made today that two vessels operating between the East Coast of the U.S. and the East Coast of South America have been renamed.  The freighter, Sea Fox, commanded by Captain Harry Miller will be known as the Mormacport.  The Lightning, commanded by Captain G. W. McCormick will be known as the Mormactern.  The changes are in line with the company's policy of identifying its cargo ships with the "Mormac" prefix.

November 9, 1940

The Mormacpenn made its last voyage today between the United States and South America as a Mooremack liner.  Arriving from Buenos Aires and Montevideo, she docked today with $3,500,000 in Argentine gold aboard.  Guards were placed around the liner until she sails for New York where the gold will be unloaded.  She will then be converted into a Navy supply vessel.

November 15, 1940

The Mormacyork, a C-3, was turned over to the Navy Department.  The Mormacyork was delivered to the company last April at a cost of $2,729,800.  She will be renamed and the merchant name will be given to another vessel that will be launched for Moore-McCormack in the yards of the Federal Shipbuilding Company at Kearny, New Jersey.

November 16, 1940

The new Mormacyork, replacing a ship of the same name which was taken over for auxiliary use by the Navy Department, went down the ways early in the morning at the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Kearney, New Jersey.  700 employees and guests of Moore-McCormack attended the launching, attended a luncheon at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York, and then attended the Columbia-Navy game.

November 27, 1940

The Rio Hudson was blessed by the Right Reverend Francis M. Taitt, Bishop of the Pennsylvania Protestant Episcopal Diocese who pronounced the benediction in the presence of 500 persons at the yards of the Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company at Chester, Pennsylvania.  Bishop Taitt read a prayer for the vessel, asking God "to grant that this ship may be a safeguard to our country and a security for such as pass on to the seas upon their lawful occasions."  It was the first time that an American ship was blessed at launching.  Mrs. Warren Lee Pierson, wife of the President of the Export-Import Bank, christened the new combiliner.   The estimated cost for the ship at this time was $5,000,444.

December 18, 1940

The Rio Parana, C-3, a new single-screw oil-fueled passenger-cargo motor ship, was blessed by Dennis Cardinal Dougherty of Philadelphia at the Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Company, Chester, Pennsylvania.  Cardinal Dougherty invoked divine protection for the ship's passengers by using water from the River Parana in the ceremony.  The vessel was named by Miss Kay Calder Lee, daughter of Commander Robert C. Lee.  As the Rio Parana started down the ways, Miss Lee swung a bottle of champagne which contents showered her and other spectators. 

December 21, 1940

The Mormacpenn left the ways at Pascagoula, Mississippi, today.  Mrs. Carl F. Farbach, wife of the general counsel of the Maritime Commission, officiated at the launching. 


William A. McHale, was Captain of the Mormacsea when she was at Trondheim during the German invasion. Several days after the invasion, he sailed the ship out of the dangerous waters and returned to the United States. Captain McHale wrote details of the invasion activities in a diary which he was keeping for students at a school in his home town of Glen Rock, New Jersey.

Captain McHale was to have commanded the first of the Rio ships which were scheduled for service, but the liners were taken over by the government before they were completed. Since then Captain McHale has taken ships of the American Republics Line under Moore-McCormack operation. He arrived in New York in June 1941 on the bridge of the Mormactern which was completing her last voyage before being requisitioned by the government.

William A. McHale was called to duty with the Navy and will join the former American President liner, President Adams, which is now in government service.

January 1941

The new freighter, Mormacstar, was delivered to Moore-McCormack Lines for its Pacific Republics Line service.  The vessel will enter service in command of Captain Eric H. Petrelius, former master of the liner, Scanpenn.

Captain Petrelius was born in Sweden and joined Moore-McCormack in 1923 as an able seaman.  He was made master of the Scanpenn in 1939.

January 29, 1941

The Mormacstar, a C-3, will be delivered tomorrow to Moore-McCormack Lines for its Pacific Republics Line service. 

March 1, 1941

The passenger-cargo liner, Rio de la Plata, C-3, was launched at the Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Company, Chester, Pennsylvania.  This ship was intended to be in the "Lend-Lease" program and was delivered to the British authorities on October 2, 1941.  She was renamed HMS Charger with a serial number BAVG-4The U.S. Navy bought the ship and retained the name, Charger.  The ship was reclassified AVG-30 and was finally commissioned on March 3, 1942.  She operated primarily as a training vessel for pilots and ships' crews, most of them British.  She spent the majority of the war in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.  The Charger was later classified as ACV-30 later becoming CVE-30.

In 1949 the Charger became Sitmar Lines' migrant/passenger liner Fairsea and was scrapped in 1968.

April 1941

In a competition, 150 artists had submitted work to grace the Main Hall for each of the four ships of the Rio Hudson class.  This month, a panel of judges including J. MacNeil for Moore-McCormack Lines, Harry Neafie for the design firm of Raymond Loewy & Associates and the Commission's own M. de Bouthillier, commissioned Everett Henry of New York to create a mural for the Rio Hudson; Mrs. Elsa Shaw of Lakewood, Ohio, to do the mural for the Rio Parana; Miss Adelaide Biggs of Pasadena, California for the Rio de la Plata, and George Cox from New York won to create decorative work for the Rio de Janeiro.  Each mural was to have a South American theme, and the size was to be 6 feet 6 inches long by 6 feet in height.  Each artist would receive $1,200 (the price of two automobiles).

April 10, 1941

The Mormactide, a new C-3 vessel, was delivered to Moore-McCormack.  The ship was built as an all-welded ship at Ingalls Shipbuilding Company.  She will sail on the 12th from Mobile, Alabama, for South American ports via Curacão.

April 11, 1941

A bid was accepted by the Maritime Commission by Moore-McCormack Lines for charter of the commission-owned cargo vessels, Deer Lodge and West Keene.  Moore-McCormack will pay $16,225 a month for each of the vessels for a year.  Even though the bid was the fourth highest bid, preference was given to Mooremack because the company would place the vessels on trade routes deemed most essential – the South American east coast trade.  Further preference was given to Moore-McCormack because the company had already turned over five new vessels to the Government for defense purposes in the last six months.

April 12, 1941

The passenger-cargo liner, Rio de Janeiro, C-3, was launched at the Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Company, Chester, Pennsylvania.  She was blessed by the Most Reverend John F. O'Hara, former president of Notre Dame University, and Auxiliary Bishop of the Army and Navy.  As a goodwill gesture symbolizing the growing cultural and commercial relations between the United States and Brasil, President Getulio Vargas of Brasil, sent his daughter, Senhora Alzira do Amaral Peixoto, to the United States to sponsor the new passenger-cargo liner. 

The Rio de Janeiro cost $5,000,000, was 492 feet long and 69.5 feet in the beam.  She was registered at 9,700 gross tons and was powered by Diesel engines of 8,500 horsepower.  The specified speed was around 17 knots, but had a reserve.

Asserting that the launching of the Rio de Janeiro had a double significance, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Coordinator of Cultural and Commercial Relations between the American Republics, an attendee at the launching, stated "It is symbolic of this country's great capacity to produce instruments of peace as well as instruments of war."

The ship was delivered incomplete by Sun Shipbuilding on November 22, 1941.  The British renamed her Dasher and assigned her serial number BAVG-5. 

In service off the coast of Scotland in early 1943 the Dasher suffered structural damage during a winter storm.  There was an explosion in one of her hangars while she was proceeding to Greenock for repairs.  After a second explosion, she was thrown into the air and caught fire.  She sank within five minutes.  The Americans blamed the British for her loss, while the British blamed her American builders.

May 1941

Albert P. Spaulding was assigned to command the Mormacpenn, but the vessel was requisitioned by the Maritime Commission prior to her maiden voyage as a merchant ship.

May 20, 1941

The Maritime Commission requisitioned the four unfinished Rio Hudson class combiliners.  Mooremack officials declined comment, referring all questions to the Maritime Commission.  The Commission stated that the four ships would be converted for defense purposes.  America's ally, Britain, stood alone against Nazi Germany and Britain needed the ships to survive.  President Roosevelt approved the "Lend-Lease" of American vessels and the British took over the Rio Hudson class ships and were probably intrigued by their motors.

Moore-McCormack officials deplored the Maritime Commission's move, pointing out that while American steamship companies were thoroughly willing to help defend the nation, inter-American relations were likely to suffer and trade curtailed.

NOTE:  After the War there was talk of a new series of Moore-McCormack Lines combiliners designed by George Sharp.  Nothing ever came of the idea. 

May 31, 1941

The Mormacgull was purchased by the Navy and later renamed U.S.S. Alcyone.  She was designated AK-24 and converted for naval service by the Boston Navy Yard.

June 28, 1941

The Mormactern, a C-2 vessel with long-range cruising capabilities and large cargo capacity, just arrived in New York from her final voyage in the South American run.  She was turned over by Mooremack last week to the U.S. Maritime Commission, after unloading her South American cargo.  She is the 16th ship to be requisitioned from Mooremack by the government and had only be in service just over a year.  The Navy will take the Mormactern but doesn't know what type of auxiliary she will be.  She is similar in construction to the ships now being converted by the Navy into small combination craft for transporting cargo and at the same time acting as a compact aircraft carrier.

July 30, 1941

The four combination passenger-cargo ships originally ordered to augment the "Good Neighbor Fleet" have been acquired by the U.S. Navy.  The first of the four ships, the Rio Hudson, will be delivered to the Navy on Friday for conversion purposes.  The Rio Parana, Rio de la Plata, and the Rio de Janeiro will follow.  None of the ships is completed and it is not known what the Navy plans to do with the ships. 

Mooremack had previously lost six new freighters to the Government, the Mormacland, Mormacpenn (renamed Griffin), Donald McKay (renamed Polaris), Mormacyork (renamed Pelias), Mormacmail, and Mormachawk (renamed Arcturus).  The Griffin and the Pelias are to operate as submarine tenders.  They were sold to the U.S. Navy.

July 31, 1941

The Rio Hudson was turned over to the U.S. Navy acting on behalf of British authorities at the Staten Island, New York shipyards of the Bethlehem Steel Company.  She was the 101st ship delivered of 283 ships thus far ordered by the Maritime Commission.

In December 1941, the Rio Hudson was commissioned by the Royal Navy, renamed Avenger, and designated D-14 but was soon redesignated BAVG-2.  She began service in March 1942.  She became one of 38 C-3 ships converted into escort aircraft carriers for use by Britain.   The Rio Hudson became an early "baby flattop" which would transport much needed aircraft to allow Britain to carry on the fight against Nazism. 

NOTE:  On November 15, 1942, the intended Rio Hudson met her end.  While west of the Straits of Gibraltar, she was sighted by an enemy submarine which fired one torpedo at the target.  The Avenger, which carried large stores of airplane fuel, caught fire and exploded, breaking the ship in two.  Shortly afterwards, the ship sank. 

The Mormacpenn, known as America's "fastest freighter" was commissioned by the Navy as a submarine tender.  The ship has been renamed the U.S.S. Griffin and was commissioned during brief ceremonies.  The ship was taken over by the Navy last December and was converted from a merchant ship into a naval auxiliary.  The Griffin is 492 feet in length and has about 700,000 cubic feet worth of cargo capacity.  She also achieved a speed of 19 knots in her trial runs. 

August 26, 1941

The Collamer in command of Captain J. W. Hultman, arrived today in New York because the ship has been shifted from operating on the Pacific Coast to New York because of the demand for space in the New York-South American trade.  The Independence Hall and the City of Flint which have been operating in the Pacific Republics Line service are also arriving in New York and will remain in the East Coast trade.  The Pacific Republics route will be maintained by the three new C-3 freighters, the Mormacsea, Mormacsun, and the Mormacstar.

September 2, 1941

The unfinished Rio Parana (80% completed) was brought from Chester, Pennsylvania, and released to British officials.  She was taken up to the Atlantic Iron Works yards in Brooklyn for completion as an escort aircraft carrier.  She was renamed Biter and assigned serial number BAVG-3.  After completion in January 1942 she was commissioned by the Royal Navy and designated D-97. 

After the war, the Biter was assigned to the French Navy and became Dixmude.  In 1959 the once intended Mooremack passenger cargo liner was stripped down to a hulk at St. Mandrier.  Since she was still technically American property, the hulk was restored to American authorities in 1966.  Her bones were then used for target practice and sunk.

September 27, 1941

The 7,052-ton owned by the Standard Oil Company, but flying under the Panamanian flag, I. C. White, was torpedoed in the South Atlantic.  The sinking of the ship occurred while she was en route to Cape Town, South Africa and was under the Lease-Lend Act with Great Britain.  The Mormacrey picked up 16 of the crew.  It occurred in the same area, but slightly west of the spot where the Robin Moor was torpedoed.

December 7, 1941

The Mormacstar was one day out of Rio de Janeiro when Pearl Harbor was attacked.  She immediately headed for Trinidad to receive a coat of battle grey paint, and made several trips to the South Seas before being converted into a troop transport in New York.

She was christened the USS Elizabeth C. Stanton and carried 2,000 troops with full equipment and a crew of 600 into a series of amphibious landing operations.  On November 7, 1942, the Lizzie, as her crew called her, moved into the beach at Fedala, North Africa, on the first of her amphibious operations.  She landed troops for the North African campaign and then assisted the Allied expedition at Gela, Sicily, in 1943. 

One of the bloodiest landings of the entire Mediterranean campaign came next, as the ship disembarked troops on the Salerno beachhead under a murderous fire of artillery and planes.  She was damaged slightly, repaired and made several routine troop-carrying missions before her next amphibious operation on August 15, 1944, at St. Tropez, France. 

With the struggle ending in Europe, the Lizzie sailed to join Admiral Halsey's Task Force 58 in the Pacific.  The group's island-hopping operations took her to Guadalcanal, Kwajalein and Eniwetok in the Marshalls, the Carolines, into the Marianas, to Guam, Tinian, Saipan and finally to Okinawa, where the news of victory and peace reached her.

December 30, 1941

The S.S. Chenango, a coal-burning freighter, was seized by the U.S. from the Finnish Government.  On this date the ship was turned over to Moore-McCormack Lines for operation under a GAA agreement.

March 5, 1942

First ship to be lost during World War II was the Collamer, commanded by Captain J. M. Hultman.

March 7, 1942

The Independence Hall, with Captain Eugene A. Curott, a veteran Moore-McCormack master, in command, was lost off Sable Island, with the loss of Captain Curott.

April 4, 1942

The Chenango, unarmed and commanded by Captain A. H. Rasmussen, was zigzagging and going about 8 knots when they were hit.  The ship was torpedoed by a German U-84 (Horst Uphoff) some 400 miles southeast of Cape Henry.  Captain Rasmussen and 31 of his men lost their lives.  There was only one survivor from Ireland.  The ship had been carrying a full load of manganese ore and was torpedoed on the port side.  The ship went down in less than a minute. 

NOTE:  About 16 months later, the Horst Uphoff was sunk by aircraft from the U.S.S. Core, CVE-13.

May 1942

The Mormacsul, commanded by Captain John Nygren, was sunk north of Norway.

June 20, 1942

The Mormaclark was launched in the Wilmington yard of Consolidated Steel company plant.  The ship was sponsored by Mrs. John D. Dinsmore, daughter of Senator Sheridan Downey from California.

July 2, 1942

The Mormactern, built for the United States Maritime Commission and Moore-McCormack Lines, was launched today.  The sponsor was Mrs. Will Rogers, Sr.  The Mormactern was the sixth of a long line of sister ships which was built at the Consolidated Steel Corporation, Ltd., in Los Angeles, to further the cause of America's vital war effort on the high seas.  The ships were C-1 Design cargo and passenger vessels, with the following characteristics:  length, 417 feet; beam, 60 feet; molded depth, 37 feet 6 inches; displacement, 12,900 tons.  The cargo capacity was 9,000 tons, and there were comfortable accommodations for 12 passengers.

September 16, 1942

A freighter originally built in 1919 for the Great Lakes, Commercial Trader,  commanded by Captain James W. Hunley, was torpedoed off Tobago Island.  A crew of 38 seamen were on board.  Captain Hunley was thrown eight feet to the boat deck and the collapsing bridge structure fell about him, but he got to his feet to destroy some confidential papers and then went to a lifeboat which turned over in the sea.   A raft was then sighted drifting away with one man on board.  A young Norwegian crew member, Nils Antonsen, swam a mile to a raft that had drifted away and aided in rescuing fellow members of the crew.  Once in the raft, 29 crew members sailed for an island in the Caribbean.  A mascot, a dog of mixed breeds named Hendrik Wilhelm Berg Johansen, also survived.  Seven crew members and three U. S. Navy Armed Guards did not survive.  It was Captain Hunley's first torpedoing.  Seaman Antonsen had been torpedoed once before on another American ship that went down several months before.

November 1, 1942

The George Thatcher, commanded by Captain Henry O. Billings, a former staff captain of the S.S. Argentina, was torpedoed and sunk off the West Coast of Africa.  Captain Billings went down with his ship.  The library in the S.S. Argentina was dedicated as his memorial.

January 25, 1943

The City of Flint, commanded by Captain J. P. MacKenzie, was torpedoed and went down off the Azores.

February 2, 1943

The Deer Lodge was lost off the East Coast of South Africa.  She was commanded by Captain I. D. Jensen.

March 4, 1943

The West Maximus, with Captain E. E. Brooks in command, was lost in the North Atlantic on March 4, 1943.

December 2, 1943

The John Bascom, a Liberty ship, with Captain Otto Heitman in command, was totally destroyed along with 16 other ships on this date, when bombed by the German Luftwaffe in Bari, Italy.   There were 50 Allied ships at the pier during the bombing.  "The John Bascom's cargo consisted of 8,300 tons of badly needed foodstuff, Army hospital equipment, high test gasoline in 50-gallon drums, and acid."  The attack, later known as "Little Pearl Harbor," was only a prelude of what was to come.  "A U.S. Liberty ship laden with a top-secret cargo of mustard gas bombs received a direct hit and exploded, killing the entire crew and spreading the toxic chemical across the water and through the air of Bari."  More than 1,000 merchant marines and more than 1,000 Bari civilians perished.  The actual number will never be known and many of the survivors died later from toxic contamination.

NOTE:  The story of this bombing can be read in a book published by The Glencannon Press in 2001, entitled  "Nightmare in Bari, The World War II Liberty Ship Poison Gas Disaster and Cover-Up," by Gerald Reminick.


Olympio Nouguerira Vasques, chief cook on the S.S. Bering, declared that he had the time of his life while his ship was anchored in the White Sea.  Despite evidence that he and fellow-seafarers on 8 American and 17 British merchant vessels had suffered hardships, Mr. Vasques described the situation as "Plenty to eat, plenty of Vodka, plenty of pretty girls, and plenty of dances."  Mr. Vasques went ashore every night and had some good times in Archangel.  There were no frozen hands or feet among the seamen.  He paid tribute to the Russian people in that area for their sacrifices of food; the Russians ate only two meals a day in order to provide extra food for the seamen.  The 25 ships were known as the "Forgotten Convoy" because they spent nine months in the area waiting for escort vessels to take them back to American or English ports.  Unfortunately there were no escort vessels available during that time.

January 3, 1945

Constructed by December 1943, the Henry Miller, a Liberty ship under the command of Captain Charles W. Spear, was torpedoed by U-870 off Morocco at 35.51N 06.24W.  There was no loss of life, but the vessel was damaged beyond repair and was later scrapped in Malaga in 1948.

January 29, 1945

The Liberty ship Alfred E. Smith is to be turned over to Moore-McCormack Lines for operation.  The vessel was formally handed over by the War Shipping Administration in a brief ceremony today at the New England Shipbuilding Corporation's yard in South Portland, Maine.  The top officers for the ship were Captain Maurice F. Dinneen and Chief Engineer Elwood Milbury.  The company would request assignment of a New York crew for the vessel.  With such a crew and the piece of New York City sidewalk placed on the bridge, it was pointed out, the Alfred E. Smith will really represent the city.

NOTE:  Alfred E. Smith was Governor of New York for four terms (not all consecutively) and was twice nominated by Franklin Roosevelt as a presidential candidate.

October 13, 1945

The Seamen's Church Institute, 25 South Street, New York, will service a cachet (commemorative design on envelope) for the Mooremack Liberty ship, Alfred E. Smith, now in the Pacific.  The cover honors the late Alfred E. Smith.

November 23, 1945

The Mormacgulf, the first vessel of a seven-ship building program for the new Moore-McCormack Lines' fleet, was launched from the Pascagoula, Mississippi, yard of the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation.  Mrs. Styles Bridges, wife of the United States Senator from New Hampshire, acted as sponsor.  

May 4, 1946

The Mormacmoon is the first Government-requisitioned vessel to be returned for operation in the Moore-McCormack Lines' American Scantic service.  The Mormacmoon was in active service throughout the war as a troopship, with a record of service men transported running into many thousands.  The ship is a 12,500-deadweight ton vessel and has a rated speed of 17 knots and a bale cubic capacity of 700,000 feet.  She is fitted with Cargoaire and refrigeration as well as deep tanks for edible oils and other liquid cargo, including passenger accommodations for 12.

May 24, 1946

The 8,274-ton Mormacmail was launched today.  She has accommodations for 12 passengers.

May 31, 1946

Strikes throughout the nation delayed the Mormacgulf and after three days of tests for her builder's and owner's trial runs, the new Mormacgulf was formally delivered to Moore-McCormack Lines by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation at Pascagoula, Mississippi.  She is the first unit of Moore-McCormack's post-war construction program.  The Mormacgulf is a company modification of the Maritime Commission's C-3 design, has a displacement of 17,600 tons and deluxe accommodations for 12 passengers.  In addition to normal dry cargo space, she has 65,000 cubic feet of refrigerated space and deep tanks for the transportation of liquid cargoes with a capacity in excess of 25,000 barrels.  She will make her maiden voyage on June 12.

June 13, 1946

The Mormacgulf left on her maiden voyage to the east coast of South America.  The decks of the Gulf were covered with eight trolley cars, and two large diesel locomotives were in her holds as she left Pier 32, North River.  The Mormacgulf is the first of seven new modified C-3s.  She has a displacement of 17,600 tons and a cargo capacity of 10,000, including 65,000 square feet of "reefer" space and deep tanks that can carry 25,000 barrels of essential oils.  The ship is 492 feet long and cruises at 17.5 knots.  Captain J. H. Hodges was in command of the ship.  During the war, Captain Hodges was master of the Mormacmoon and it is said that his command was the longest period any officer served on the same ship during the war years.

July 3, 1946

The Marine Marlin, a C-4 type vessel, left today for Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Montevideo and Buenos Aires with commercial passengers on a one-way basis.  The ship leaving with 300 passengers marked the first large passenger movement to that area since before the war.  The arrangement for above-deck passengers is for 6 to 24 berths in a room.  Below decks, in modified troop quarters, space is available for men only.  The War Shipping Administration is sending the Marine Marlin to South America on a sort of "grand tour" to pick up German nationals and internees and return them to their own country.  The ship is scheduled to arrive in Buenos Aires in late July after which control of the vessel will be handed over to a special agent of the State Department, who will be aboard with 12 guards.  The ship will then make calls at Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, Trinidad (for fuel only), La Guayra, Barranquilla, Vera Cruz and Havana, and proceed to Bremerhaven.  She is scheduled to arrive at Bremerhaven on August 30 with approximately 950 Germans.

Another C-4 type vessel, the Marine Perch, left for Europe. 

July 18, 1946

The 492-foot long Mormacisle docked at Pier 32, Hudson River, at Canal Street today.  She will begin loading for her maiden voyage on Sunday for Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo and Buenos Aires.  She has accommodations for 12 passengers.

August 9, 1946

Public exercises were held in the port of Philadelphia during the loading of the Australia Victory, in tribute to hundreds of school children and other city residents who subscribed to the purchase of 1,500 tons of food being loaded on the vessel for Poland.  The ship is going to Gydnia.  Mayor Bernard Samuel headed the committee that raised the funds.

September 29, 1946

The 8,274-ton Mormacland completed her sea trials and was turned over to her owners, Moore-McCormack Lines.  She is 492 feet long, has 70,000 cubic feet of refrigerated space, a displacement of 17,600 tons, deep tanks for oils with a capacity of more than 25,000 barrels, and has accommodations for 12 passengers.

November 8, 1946

The Mormacland left on her maiden voyage in command of Captain William J. Currott.  She is the last of four new company modified C-3 vessels to be assigned to the New York-East Coast South America route. 

November 22, 1946

The Mormacmail left on her maiden voyage to Oslo, Copenhagen, Goeteborg, Stockholm, Malmo, Helsinki and Gdynia.  Captain Thor Sorenson will command the vessel which is the fifth of a group of seven C-3 type ships to be built for the company.  She is assigned to the American Scantic Line service which provides eight sailings a month to Scandinavian and Baltic ports.

January 1947

The Mormacwave will omit a call at Rio and Santos as a result of serious congestion in the two Brasilian ports.  To avoid a 15 to 30-day delay in the unloading of cargo, the Mormacwave will go directly to Montevideo.  A sister ship will also omit the two Brasilian ports and call only at Buenos Aires.

January 11, 1947

Mormacland arrived in Boston with the largest shipment of cocoa ever to leave Brasil.  She carried almost 90,000 bags, or approximately 7,500 tons, of cocoa.  Among the passengers aboard were Albert V. Moore and Mrs. Moore.  They returned from a ten week tour of the East Coast South American ports, during which Mr. Moore conferred with representatives of the Line in Brasil, Uruguay, and Argentina.

January 29, 1947

The Mormacsaga, last of seven modified C-3 type ships to be built for Moore-McCormack by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation was formally delivered to Moore-McCormack Lines.  This completes a $21 million construction program involving the company's three services.  The Mormacsaga is 492 feet long, has a displacement of 17,600 tons, a 69.5 foot beam and accommodations for 12 passengers.  Her cargo space includes 70,000 cubic feet of refrigerated space.  She is scheduled to leave for Scandinavia next month with Captain Axel Berg in command.

March 21, 1947

The Mormacwave will become the third American merchant vessel to receive the Navy Reserve pennant in a ceremony today at Pier 32, North River. The pennant will be presented to Captain John C. Scott, master of the ship, by Rear Admiral Monroe Kelly, Third Naval District commandant.

April 1947

The 7,247-ton freighter, Pontus H. Ross, left Rosario, Argentina, on March 21, commanded by Captain William H. Schultz of West Orange, New Jersey.  The ship caught fire in her No. 4 hold when she was 525 miles southwest of Gibraltar.  She then changed course for Santa Cruz, Madeira Islands.  The ship left with a cargo of oil cakes bound for ports in Sweden. 

April 29, 1947

The Mormacpine, a modified Victory ship capable of 17 knots, sailed on her maiden voyage from Pier 32, North River.

April 30, 1947

The Mormacoak, a modified Victory ship capable of 17 knots, sailed on her maiden voyage from 33rd Street, Brooklyn. 

May 9, 1947

The 520-foot Marine Jumper will be employed this summer in the exchange of American and foreign students and teachers.  The vessel entered the Bethlehem Steel Company's 56th Street yard for conversion to her new duties and will have accommodations for approximately 925.  The Marine Tiger is also scheduled for early conversion. 

The Maritime Commission allocated the two sister ships to permit the exchange of students and teachers between this country and Europe on a greatly enlarged scale following announcement by the State Department that about 3,500 American students and teachers planned to study abroad this summer and several thousand foreign students want to study here.  The two ships will be operated jointly by Moore-McCormack Lines and the United States Lines.

The Mormacdawn is arriving today at Pier 16, Brooklyn, with the largest cargo of fruit carried by a Mooremack freighter from Buenos Aires.  Aboard the freighter are 44,889 boxes of grapes, 694 boxes of peaches, and 9,512 boxes of pears.  They will be transported to Pier 21, North River, and sold at auction next week.

May 23, 1947

The Naval Reserve Pennant was awarded to the freighter Mormacsaga in a ceremony aboard the vessel at Pier 46, North River.  The Pennant was handed to the vessel's master, Captain Axel Berg by Rear Admiral Monroe Kelly, commandant of the Third Naval District.  The Mormacsaga is the 7th vessel of the United States post-war merchant marine and the 2nd Mooremack vessel to be honored in this fashion. 

The Pennant is awarded because of a ship's suitability for service as a naval auxiliary and also because not less than 50% of her licensed officers were members of the Reserve.  Her suitability was also predicated on the performances of other ships of her type during the war.

July 1947

Ten freighters flying the Mooremack house flag moved in the Buenos Aires harbor during a 24-hour period.

July 15, 1947

Marshal Govorov, a Russian freighter with Moore-McCormack Lines as its agents, docked at Pier 19, Staten Island, carrying a cargo that included fur skins, gold and coin valued at $5,000,000. 

July 28, 1947

 Mormacrio, which sailed from Buenos Aires on July 9, docked at Pier B, Jersey City, with a cargo that included 142 kegs of gold.  The gold, valued at $16,500,000 was sent by the Banco Central de La Republica and was consigned to the Federal Reserve Bank.

August 8, 1947

The Naval Reserve Pennant was awarded to the freighter Mormacsea in a ceremony aboard the vessel at Pier 46, North River, Charles Street.  Commodore Robert G. Tobin, USN, Port Director, presented the Pennant and Captain E. H. Gluck will accept it in behalf of his men and the company.  The Mormacsea is the 12th vessel of the United States post-war merchant marine and the 3rd Mooremack vessel to be honored in this fashion.  The Mormacsea is a C-3 type vessel which was built in 1941.  She had made the freighter speed record of 14 days, 18 hours, for the run between New York and Buenos Aires.

August 11, 1947

Ralph E. Cropley, a member of the Research Division of the Maritime Commission, joined Moore-McCormack as a purser aboard the Mormackite engaged in the company's Scandinavian service.

September 21, 1947

The 7,606-ton cargo ship, Dothan Victory, was bought from the U. S. Maritime Commission by Moore-McCormack Lines and renamed the Mormacfir.  She had been operated by Moore-McCormack on charter from the Maritime Commission in South American and Scandinavian trades.

September 23, 1947

In a letter to the Maritime Commission, 12 students from the United States, took issue with published accounts of "inadequate accommodation, insufficient food and low moral standards" as to the standards of steamship transportation for the exchange of students between the USA and the Continent.  Students arriving on the Marine Jumper asserted that "the insinuation of immorality is ... a gross insult to the American code of living, and responsible officers on duty in these ships will corroborate our claim that the highest standards of moral behavior are exercised at all times."

September 27, 1947

The Marine Jumper should have left from Pier 84, North River, with 570 passengers, at 5 pm yesterday, but has been postponed to noon today to permit completion of engine repairs.  The vessel is scheduled to call at Beirut, Haifa, Alexandria, and Piraeus.

December 1, 1947

As "iron curtain" descended on the area of the Claremont, New Jersey, terminal where the Russian freighter Dmitri-Danskoy was being loaded with cargo destined for Odessa.  Moore-McCormack Lines, shipping agents for the freighter, would not answer questions on the type of cargo being loaded, despite a willingness to give similar details on four Russian ships that sailed in recent weeks.

December 3, 1947

The Naval Reserve Pennant was awarded to the freighter Mormacelm in a ceremony aboard the vessel at Pier 46, North River.  Captain Robert G. Tobin, USN, presented the Pennant to Captain John P. Kudlich, master of the vessel.  The Mormacelm is the 24th vessel of the United States post-war merchant marine and the 4th Mooremack vessel to be honored in this fashion.

December 16, 1947

A Naval Reserve Pennant was awarded to the freighter Mormacstar in a ceremony aboard the vessel at her Canal Street pier.  Captain Andrew R. Mack, chief of staff to the Commandant of the Third Naval District awarded the Blue Pennant to Captain Lloyd H. Thompson, master of the vessel.  The Mormacstar is the 5th Mooremack vessel to be honored.  She did valiant war service when as the U.S.S. Elizabeth Stanton she transported more than 100,000 troops and took part in the invasion of North Africa, Sicily, Salerno, Southern France and Okinawa.

December 27, 1947

"A bunch of nice Polish kids" comprising of 72 Polish war orphans in Gdynia, Poland, received gifts from American seamen today.  The crew of the Mormacpine started the lesson months ago when the ship's crew, during a stay in Gdynia, heard from Walpole Davis, a Mooremack manager in Poland, that an abandoned troop barracks that was being used as an orphanage was badly in need of painting.  Mormacpine's merchant mariners volunteered to carry out the painting job during their shore time and they were won over by the orphans.  "We just looked at those kids and thought back to the United States, and bang, they had us," said one seaman.

Ever since the painting, presents were purchased whenever the ship reached a port.  The longshoremen at the Mooremack's pier in Philadelphia, one of Mormacpine's regular stops, wanted to be included in the "adoption."  As the holiday season approached, gifts purchased by crew members during their stay ashore and by the pier workers became so strong that a limit had to be set.  The Mormacpine left the U.S. early this month with bulging lockers, the contents of which were distributed today by a substitute Santa because the Mormacpine is on her way homeward bound.

January 1949

The Mormacrey rescued all of the 36 British seamen when the tanker Adellen began taking water off Cartagena.

May 22, 1950

The S.S. Mormacsurf was the dressiest of all the ships during Maritime Day in the Boston Harbor.  Captain I. B. Jensen, Master of the winning ship, was justifiably proud of the victory, as were the members of the crew.  As a prize, the ship was awarded a set of seafaring books for her library.

December 1950

The Meredith Victory, commanded by Captain Leonard P. LaRue, evacuated over 14,000 Koreans when Red troops swarmed toward Hungnam.  The ship had been built with no quarters for passengers and after being at sea for four days, the massed humanity moved to the safety of Pusan.  Unbelievably, the transfer was achieved, and later the nation's press and radio, "Reader's Digest" and the "Saturday Evening Post" discussed it.  Captain LaRue won commendation and thanks from his government, from shipping, from churchmen and humanitarian-minded groups.

The Hunter Victory, commanded by Charles H. Preusch, rescued additional evacuees during the Hungnam operation.

The Mormacmoon, with Captain Philip W. Atkinson in command, also found drama during the Hungnam operation and rescued 2,800 evacuees. 

NOTE:  For more on Meredith Victory's great achievement, see the pages at Cargo Liners > The Ships > Meredith Victory.

March 11, 1951

The Mormacspruce, thirty-sixth unit of Moore-McCormack Lines' owned fleet, was purchased from the Maritime Administration and is en route to the Baltic.  The ship was formerly the Muncie Victory, and is now under the command of Captain C. B. Hamblett.  She is a Victory-type ship, 7,600 gross tons, 455 feet, 3 inches long, 62 feet beam and 28 feet, 6 inches draft.

March 12, 1951

The Moore-McCormack Lines' freighter, Mormacfir was held responsible for a collision with the Gloucester trawler, Corinthian, on September 19, 1949.  Six members of the trawler's crew were lost off Halifax in the collision.  The suit filed in Federal Court, asserted that the 161-ton Corinthian was run down by the freighter Mormacfir in a dense fog 37 miles southeast of Sambro Lightship off Halifax, N.S.  Federal Judge George C. Sweeney fixed the responsibility and said he would refer the question of damages to a commissioner.

December 29, 1951

Mormacisle left for Helsinki, Finland, with 60 taxicabs which is part of 600 taxicabs ordered by Finnish transportation companies in preparation for the forthcoming Olympic Games.  The cabs were ordered from the Checker Taxicab Company of Chicago.  The Mormacisle is due in Helsinki on January 17.

January 25, 1952

The 7,773-ton Mormacsun rescued 17 crewmen from the 700-ton Argentine merchantman Calama just before she sank 70 miles north of Mar del Plata.  The engine room was flooding through a sprung plate and that she was going down near San Clemente del Tuyu.

Summer 1952

While the Mormacreed was berthed in Rio de Janeiro, Captain Donald D. McClennan and third officer, Dale E. Haakinson, sensed the seriousness of a fire at Warehouse 5.  The officers and crew of the Mormacreed used the ship's hoses to pour water into the fire.  Their action confined the fire, quelling it in part, to the warehouse before Rio's fire brigades had finished linking the water hoses to the hydrants. 

February 10, 1953

The Mormacmar, a C-3 type vessel of 12,500 deadweight tons, was expected to reach the Norwegian port of Bodoe late today with her hull cracked in heavy weather.  The Mormacmar had sailed from the northern part of Narvik for Baltimore with a cargo of iron ore.  When she was 170 miles out, bad weather led to a crack in her weather dock just forward of the midship housing.  Ernest A. Rattray, of Fanwood, New Jersey, asked nearby shipping to stand by.  The Mormacmar stated she was moving at a speed of six knots and that the storm was letting up.  She carried a crew of 53 seamen.

October 7, 1954

The S.S. Mormackite, a cargo vessel, en route from Victoria, Brasil, to Baltimore with a cargo of 9,003 tons of Brasilian iron ore in bulk and 30 tons of bagged cocoa beans began to list due to a northeasterly wind force of 30 knots and swells running.  A sea struck the starboard bow with a hammer-like blow causing the cargo to shift.  The vessel listed 25 degrees to port and engines were then stopped.  The list progressively increased with the stack taking water.  The crew abandoned the vessel by walking and jumping into the sea.  By 0945 hrs, the vessel rolled over on the port side and sank stern first.  Of the 48 persons comprising the crew of the Mormackite, 37 perished, mostly by drowning and exposure, and 11 survived.  Among those who lost their lives was the Mormackite's Master, Patrick J. McMahon.  The S.S. Makadonia picked up the first survivor at 0728 hrs., October 9.  The Monroe Victory was also involved in the attempted "rescue" of survivors.

NOTE:  George Trowbridge, who was a young 17, served as a wiper in the black gang aboard the Monroe Victory.  He gave us information regarding the Monroe Victory's rescue.

January 1955

The Mormacpine, commanded by Captain Philip M. Slavin, achieved a westbound crossing of the Atlantic, steaming the 3,780 miles at an average speed of 18.03 knots.  This was an exceptional performance for a ship of her class (Victory, Steam), especially during the winter season.  Her fuel consumption on the crossing was below average.

March 1955

The Mormacgulf, commanded by Captain I. Molaug, rescued two passengers from the Chilean liner Villarico in the Straits of Magellan.

March 31, 1955

The S.S. Mormacspruce, a cargo vessel, was outbound in Delaware Bay, and the USS William T. Powell, a destroyer escort, was inbound from sea.  At approximately 2015 hrs., both vessels collided.  The Mormacspruce incurred bow damage and the Powell suffered extensive hull damage to her aft starboard side.  No persons were killed but two persons were injured on the Powell.

February 14, 1957

In order to display future development in the West Coast, Moore-McCormack purchased the Pope & Talbot subsidiary.  The P&T Pathfinder became the Mormacsun.  In March and April the Trader, the Forrester, and the Seafarer were delivered to Mooremack.  They became the Mormacguide, the Mormacwave, and the Mormacwind, respectively.

March 7, 1957

The Federal Maritime Board was requested to approve a proposed agreement reached between Moore-McCormack Lines and Seas Shipping Company, whereby Moore-McCormack would acquire ownership of the latter's fleet, popularly known as the Robin Line.  The Robin fleet includes Robin Locksley, Robin Doncaster, Robin Kettering, Robin Sherwood, Robin Tuxford, Robin Wentley, Robin Hood, Robin Goodfellow, Robin Gray, Robin Kirk, Robin Mowbray, and Robin Trent.  All 12 vessels, some of which were especially designed for the African trade, were among the finest cargo ships in service.

April 4, 1957

For the 152nd consecutive year, Quebec honored the Captain of the first ship to sail up the St. Lawrence from across the ocean, after the winter freeze-up.  At the traditional ceremony on board Mormacmail, Louis Beaudry, Manager of the Port of Quebec, presented Captain Otto Heitmann with the gold-headed cane awarded annually to the captain of the first ship to open the navigation season.  Competition among ocean going vessels for this trophy had always been high. 

July 7, 1957

Between Recife and Rio de Janeiro, Mormacmail, under the command of Captain S.S. Pardoe, rescued Captain Ebbe Lieberath, Master of the Swedish ship, La Plata, and his crew.

Spring 1958

In San Francisco, the first place safety award was presented to Captain H. E. Hansen of the Mormacland.  The Mormacland led the entire Moore-McCormack Lines fleet for the year 1957 with no lost time accidents.

May 6, 1958

Captain Bernard M. Kelly died suddenly at Rio de Janeiro aboard Mormacmail.  He had been with Mooremack since 1928.

December 25, 1959

Brother Marinus, the Benedictine Monk, made his final profession of vows before Rt. Rev. C. V. Coriston, O.S.B., Abbott of St. Paul's Abbey, at Christmas midnight mass.  Brother Marinus was Captain Leonard P. LaRue of the Meredith Victory.

February 1, 1960

Mrs. R. C. Lee, wife of the Chairman of the Board, transformed Hull 617 at the Sun Shipyard and Drydock Corp., in Chester, Pennsylvania, into the S.S. Mormacpride, first of the new cargo ships.  The Mormacpride was a special design modification of the C-3 freighter, type 1624.  She cost more than $10 million, is over 484 feet long, 61 feet wide, and 10, 460 deadweight tons.  She had deluxe accommodations for 12 passengers and special innovations such as air-conditioning throughout and hydraulic hatch covers that made her the "pride" of the new Mooremack fleet.

January 25, 1964

The S.S. Mormacargo, a constellation class ship, being the first U.S. pushbutton cargoliner, was launched at the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation, a Division of Litton Industries, in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  Mrs. Lawrence C. Marshall, of Short Hills, New Jersey, wife of the vice-chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank and a director of Moore-McCormack Lines, was the sponsor.  The Mormacargo was named for one of the larger southern constellations, Argo.

March 21, 1964

The S.S. Mormacvega, a constellation class ship, was launched at the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation, a Division of Litton Industries, in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  Mrs. Lawrence F. Fiske of Darien, Connecticut, wife of the executive vice president and director of Moore-McCormack Lines, was the sponsor.  The Mormacvega was named for Vega, star of the largest magnitude in the Constellation Lyra in the northern hemisphere, and boon to the sailors for countless generations.

August 14, 1964

Breakbulk, Mormacargo, built by Ingalls Shipbuilding, was delivered to Moore-McCormack Lines.

October 2, 1964

Breakbulk, Mormavega, built by Ingalls Shipbuilding, was delivered to Moore-McCormack Lines.

November 20, 1964

Breakbulk, Mormaclynx, built by Ingalls Shipbuilding, was delivered to Moore-McCormack Lines.

January 15, 1965

Breakbulk, Mormacrigel, built by Ingalls Shipbuilding, was delivered to Moore-McCormack Lines.

March 26, 1965

Breakbulk, Mormacaltair, built by Ingalls Shipbuilding, was delivered to Moore-McCormack Lines.

September 24, 1965

Breakbulk, Mormacdrago, built by Ingalls Shipbuilding, was delivered to Moore-McCormack Lines.

December 3, 1966

The Mormacdraco, a constellation class cargo liner, held the speed record to and from Africa and the United States.  She took this honor on this day as she arrived in Boston, only 11 days, 9 hours, and 45 minutes out of Cape Town, South Africa.  An average of 24.57 knots was logged on this record-breaking trip, with a best day's run of 25 knots.  Her master was Captain Norman J. Groebl.  Captain Groebl joined Mooremack in 1947 as a Third Mate and became Master in 1958.

January 2, 1967

While en route from Gdynia to Rotterdam, the Mormacrigel, under the command of Captain John Larsen rescued the crew of a Norwegian freighter, Raagan.  The distressed ship was 120 miles off of the German coast in the North Sea and sank shortly after the crew was saved.

April 28, 1969

Ro-ro, Mormacsky, built by Ingalls Shipbuilding, was delivered to Moore-McCormack Lines.

July 21, 1969

Ro-ro, Mormacstar, built by Ingalls Shipbuilding, was delivered to Moore-McCormack Lines.

September 26, 1970

Ro-ro, Mormacsun, built by Ingalls Shipbuilding, was delivered to Moore-McCormack Lines.

February 2, 1970

Ro-ro, Mormacsea, built by Ingalls Shipbuilding, was delivered to Moore-McCormack Lines.

February 2, 1980

The Lake Charles, the first of two identical liquefied natural gas tankers which General Dynamics designed and built under contract with Lachmar, Inc., floated from the assembly basin to the wet berth, where dock trials and final testing of all ship's systems were conducted.  The Lake Charles is 936 feet long, with a beam of 143 feet six inches, displacing 93,500 tons.  On each of the Mooremack-operated 13 journeys annually between the U.S.A. and Algeria, the carrier carried 125,000 cubic meters of LNG.  She had accommodations for 35 people with a full range of crew comforts and had an average speed of 20 knots. 

April 18, 1980

In New Orleans, Lake Charles' sponsor, Shirley O'Shields, said, "I name this ship Lake Charles.  May God Bless her and all who sail in her." 

NOTE:  The Lake Charles now sails for Helderline Shell and since 2000 she has become known as LNG Abuja.

May 15, 1980

The Lake Charles is delivered.

June 8, 1980

The Louisiana, the second of two identical liquefied natural gas tankers which General Dynamics designed and built under contract with Lachmar, Inc., floated from the assembly basin to the wet berth, where dock trials and final testing of all ship's systems were conducted.  Her specifications and places of travel matched her sister, the Lake Charles.

August 26, 1980

In New Orleans, Louisiana's sponsor, Linda L. Seely, said, "I name this ship Louisiana.  May God Bless her and all who sail in her." 

NOTE:  The Louisiana now sails for Helderline Shell and since 2000 she has become known as LNG Edo.

September 1980

Moore-McCormack acquired two ships from Farrell Lines, which were renamed the Mormacdawn and Mormacmoon.  This helped Mooremack increase its service to Africa.

September 25, 1980

The Louisiana is delivered.


The Mormactide was one of the ships that United States Lines purchased but she was never put to use.  She was then turned over to the Federal Government and laid up in the Reserve Fleet in the James River.

The Mormacwave was also laid up in the Reserve Fleet in the James River.

November 1988

The Mormactide was converted to a public nautical training ship and renamed Empire State VI.  She is currently at the State University of New York Maritime College ("SUNY").

June 2004

The Mormacmoon, built in the 1960s, was scheduled during the summer to be towed from the James River off of Fort Eustis in Newport News to a salvage yard in Brownsville, Texas.  The Mormacmoon and the Mormacwave are both in the Ghost Fleet and have been leaking oil from small holes caused by age and rust.  In 1982 when the Mormacwave was laid up, her last crew seemed to leave the ship quickly.  No one cleared off the coffee mugs that were on top of maps of the South Atlantic.

December 2004

Two articles appeared in two magazines this month: 

A "real people, real miracle" story of the Meredith Victory, her crew, and St. Paul's Abbey appeared in the "Reader's Digest."

The second article about the Meredith Victory appeared in the "St. Anthony Messenger."

September 2005

Due to Hurricane Katrina's devastation, the Empire State VI (Mormactide) is providing housing for 700 ConocoPhillips refinery workers, security and medical personnel as they rebuild the infrastructure of the third largest oil refinery in Belle Chasse, Louisiana.

January 2006

The Empire State VI (Mormactide) is now in the Port of New Orleans housing employees from Antoine's Restaurant.   "Home for Chuck Wonycott these days is a cramped metal bunk with a thin foam mattress deep in the bowels of a merchant-marine ship docked at the Port of New Orleans.  His closet is a narrow locker.  His dining room is the ship's mess.  His bathroom resembles a bus station's."  "Orlando Sentinel," Sunday, January 29, 2006.

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