SHIP NAME: Mormacelm

OFFICIAL NO:  248650


BUILDER:  Oregon Shipbuilding Corp., Portland, Oregon


KEEL LAID May 15, 1945


LAUNCH  DATE:  July 5, 1945

COMPLETION DATE: July 31, 1945


SPEED: 17.5


OUTSTANDING POINTS:    Purchased in 1947 by Moore-McCormack

PRIOR HISTORY: Built new as the Coffeyville Victory.

SUBSEQUENT HISTORY:  Scrapped by Moore-McCormack in 1970 at Hong Kong.




At anchor in Upper New York Bay  (Photo courtesy of Capt. Tom Ellsworth Copyright 2003-2004 - All rights reserved. Do not reproduce. If anyone wants copies, please email Tom at

Mormacelm Rescues Brasilian Fishing Vessel

("The Mooremack News," Autumn 1959)

Summoned the night of July 28, 1959 by red distress flares eighty miles off the Brasilian coast, the S.S. Mormacelm, Capt. Sven E. Roos, master, arrived almost twenty-six hours later at Vitoria, Brasil, towing the disabled Brasilian fishing boat, Rosa Viana.

Lying helplessly adrift for over six hours, the Rosa Viana, skippered by Capt. Francisco Gomez and owned by Manuel Santos Viana of Rio, broke its propeller shaft ten hours after leaving Vitoria with ice for its catch. The fishing vessel, carrying a crew of 32, had no radio operator or radio equipment aboard, and no one who could read Morse blinker. So helpless she had to remain until aid could be summoned from a passing ship. Earlier in the day a British ship reportedly passed within visual range but did not stop.

At 7:15 P.M., the July 28, 1959, 2nd officer Sig Falch, on duty on the bridge of the Mormacelm, spotted red flares at 20 miles, 47 degrees off his port bow. Capt. Roos, was called to the con, immediately placed the vessel on standby and proceeded slowly towards the distress area. Chief officer Joe Davis, meanwhile, tried to establish blinker contact. He had no success. The Rosa Viana's only reply was repeated blinking with a flashlight. Radio operator Lou Bastone tried calling on the distress frequencies, 500 and 2182 Kcs. He too, received no reply. Capt. Roos came as close as he could, then stopped his vessel.

Lights appeared suddenly on the Rosa Viana and shortly after a 12-foot dory with three men aboard put out on the choppy waters. Rowing against the current and moderate easterly breeze, the dory tied up alongside the Mormacelm twenty minutes later. Chief engineer Manuel Cardosa Santos climbed aboard.

Chief officer Davis, the only one aboard who could speak fluent Portuguese, quickly learned the trouble with the Rosa Viana. He informed Capt. Roos who subsequently ordered him and 1st engineer Ralph Gervais to take a motor lifeboat over to the Rosa Viana and bring back Captain Gomez. Capt. Roos, after consultation with Captain Gomez, decided to stand by until daybreak. When no radio advice was forthcoming at that time he decided the next best thing was to tow the Rosa Viana into Vitoria himself. A contract agreement was signed by both masters and at 8:45 A.M. the tow to Vitoria began. Radio messages received later told of a tug having been dispatched. This was found to be untrue. It was only after anchoring in Vitoria Roads for over two hours that a tug finally did appear. She identified herself as the Gobernador, and officially relinquished the Mormacelm from further distress responsibility.

At 12:15 A.M., 29 hours after she came on the scene, the Mormacelm gave three long and one short blasts on her whistle in a token of farewell. Shortly after she was back on course for Rio carrying her load of stateside general cargo.

The New York Board of Trade selected Captain S. E. Roos, master of the Mormacelm, as the winner of its 1959 Tradition of the Sea award.  The award was presented at a luncheon at the Seamen's Church Institure.

Tradition of the Sea

Captain Roos accepts award

Tradition of the Sea Award presented to Captain Roos.  (Courtesy of Dave Roos, son of Captain Sven Roos.  The award was given to our Moore-McCormack museum. )

Rescue at sea earns Tradition of the Sea Award of the Transportation Section, New York Board of Trade, for Captain S. E. Roos.  Making the presentation is James T. Zimmerman, section chairman.  Congratulating the guest of honor is Miss Lawanna Lookingbill, the Board of Trade's World Trade Week Queen. (Courtesy of Dave Roos, son of Captain Sven Roos.)

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