The S.S. Brazil articles contained herein were published by and for Mooremack Employees Ashore and Afloat.


The Brazil Returns

("The Mooremack News," June 1948)

(Courtesy of Vincent Fiorenza)

Seldom has a ship, returning to service, received so hearty a welcome as was accorded the S. S. Brazil. From the time she set out to sea, early the morning of May 6 from the yard of the Atlantic Basin Iron Works, in Brooklyn, for her sea trials, until she sailed May 20 from Pier 32, North River, on her first postwar voyage, a twelve-day trip to the West Indies, the ship was the center of attention in a dozen ways.

Several hundred persons went out on the ship for the sea trials, as guests of the shipyard, and the whole world was told of the ships progress during the day by means of radio-telephoned reports sent to their papers by newspaper correspondents who were aboard.  These included the Associated Press, United Press, New York Times, New York Herald-Tribune, New York Sun, New York World-Telegram, Wall Street Journal and New York Journal of Commerce, to cite a few.

Our intrepid photographer, Ray Chanaud, took to the air during the trials and "shot" the ship off the New Jersey coast both in stills and movies as she proceeded on her way.  The newspapers and trade magazines used these air shots in their early following issues.  We show the result of Ray's efforts in the lay-out of photographs on Page 4 of this issue.

S.S. Brazil Sea Trial - 1948

The day preceding the sea trials, at a luncheon-forum at the Waldorf Astoria, representatives of the governments of the United States and Brazil, joined with spokesmen of Moore-McCormack Lines and the shipyard in reasserting the importance of the ship’s return as a link in the trade and political relations of the two countries.

The keynote address at this meeting was delivered by Allan Dawson, Chief of the Division of Brazilian Affairs of the State Department, who said in discussing the importance of the relations between the United States and Brazil:—

S.S. Brazil Sea Trial - 1948"I have a feeling that many Americans, knowing comparatively little of the lands to our south, still think of Brazil as a vast tract of land along the margins of a lushly tropical river or inland sea, the Amazon, where coffee, alligators, rubber, bananas and nuts are produced indiscriminately.  Many do not realize that Brazil is considerably larger than the continental United States; that Brazil’s population of some 45,000,000 or more is about as great as the combined population of the other South American countries; that some of Brazil’s mineral resources are greater than ours (for example, Itabira, far richer in ore body, may some day replace the Mesabi range); that Brazil’s industrial development has progressed rapidly as attested by the fact that cotton textiles have become one of her three greatest exports in recent years; that Brazil’s hydro-electrical potential is estimated as the third highest in the world; that Brazil has the largest steel mill in South America, a mill which is at the same time one of the most modern in the world; that one of Brazil’s large private railroads, which is operated and owned entirely by Brazilians, compares favorably in operational performance and efficiency with any American railroad; that Brazil’s architects and engineers have gained international reputation for advanced styling and scientific use of reinforced concrete; and that Brazil has been a leader in the peaceful settlement of international disputes.  I cut this list short only because of limited time."

 *     *     *

At this luncheon Dr. J. B. Berenguer-Cesar, Brazilian consul general to the United States, spoke for his government, and Albert V. Moore, president of Moore-McCormack Lines, spoke for his company.  E. J. Crofoot, president of Blair Holdings Corporation, owner of the Atlantic Basin Iron Works, acted as chairman.

The day after this affair, the Brazil sailed at 7 A.M. from the shipyard for her trial run, but not until the Rev, William J. Farrell, superintendent of the Catholic Seamen’s lnstitute of Brooklyn and one of the better known figures along the waterfront, had boarded the ship and celebrated Holy Mass before the ship’s altar in the first class library.

Capt. Sadler bears warrant awarding Naval Reserve pennant by Admiral Riggs

The Brazil returned from her trials early next morning and tied up at Pier 32, North River, where in the few days that followed several hundred travel agents, shippers and friends of Mooremack boarded her for inspection.  One of the highlights of her stay in port, prior to her first sailing, was the ceremony on the bridge at which the Navy Department presented the Naval Reserve pennant to her master, Captain Harry N. Sadler, signifying that the ship is acceptable as a naval auxiliary and that at least one-half of her officer personnel holds membership in the Naval Reserve.  The officers and their naval ratings are as follows:—Harry N. Sadler, Commander; Howard F. Lane, Lieutenant; John H. Price, Ensign; John B. Fowler, Ensign; Harold R. Richardson, Ensign; Ray Hardcastle, Ensign; David W. Shields, Lieutenant; Albert R. Gercken, Jr., Lieutenant; Victor A. Link, Commander; Frederick Schreck, Lieutenant; Robert G. Macdonald, Ensign; William W. Patton, Lt. Comdr.; Thomas Courtien, Ensign; Diego Madrid, Commander; Charles F. Ford, Ensign. 

Captain Harry N. Sadler

Following this ceremony, at which Rear Admiral Ralph S. Riggs, U.S.N., Director of the Naval Reserve, made the presentation, the William J. Binder, Jr. Memorial Library was dedicated, in the presence of Mr. Binder, Sr., a veteran Mooremack staff member.  The gallant lad for whom the library is named was a young employee of Moore-McCormack Lines who joined the Navy early in 1941 and gave his life at Pearl Harbor.  At the luncheon aboard ship following the ceremony of dedication, Emmet J. McCormack spoke with feeling of the young man and the favorable impression he had made during his stay at 5 Broadway, of his capacity for friendship and the deep regard his fellow-employees held for him.  Mr. McCormack’s remarks struck a responsive chord with the many present who remembered.

 *     *     *

In presenting the pennant Admiral Riggs said:—

"It is indeed a great privilege to be here today to present this Naval Reserve Flag and a 'well done' to the 'Brazil,' one of the finest ships in the United States Merchant Marine.  The Brazil’s peacetime record was exceeded only by the outstanding job she performed during World War II.

"In early 1942, when enemy submarines sank an average of one merchantman a day — many of them within sight of the coast of the United States, the 'Brazil,' like hundreds of other brave merchant ships— despite adversities and uncertainty — remained undaunted and carried on in the true spirit of a great and heroic people.

"Between 1942 and 1946, she made more than 30 overseas passages, each voyage loaded to capacity with troops and supplies.  Frequently unescorted, she criss-crossed the most hazardous waters of both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres of operations; and by many she was adjudged as one of the best and most successful troopships of the war.

"Her owners can well be proud of the 'Brazil' — the 18th ship in the Mooremack fleet to be awarded the 'Naval Reserve Flag.'"

Dedication of William Binder, Jr., memorial Library

A few days after the Brazil reached No. 32, her sister ship, the Argentina, returning from South America, came into the berth on the north side of the pier, this reunion marking the first time in more than two years that they were together.  Their last previous stay together was in Southampton in March 1946, when the Brazil had just arrived from San Francisco with war prisoners and the Argentina was engaged in moving war brides to the United States.  The time prior to that, they had gone into Oran together with their sister ship, the Uruguay, in November 1942, carrying men and materiel in the invasion of North Africa.

The presence of the sisters together at Pier 32 sent the News into the air once again.  This time the resulting photograph appears on the front cover of the current issue.  The Brazil’s lifeboat crews were busily at practice when the picture was taken.

The Brazil got away to a brilliant start of her post-war career when she sailed with a capacity crowd on May 20 for a twelve-day cruise to Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and the Virgin Islands. The return of the ship to the sea was hailed throughout shipping circles, and on the nation-wide CBS radio hookup.  Bill Rogers, the newscaster for Johns-Manville made this statement: —

"Today, another ship of the Good Neighbor Fleet to South America sailed from New York.  She is the Brazil of the Moore-McCormack Lines.  After her wartime service the Brazil was recently overhauled to make her one of the most beautiful luxury liners flying the American flag.  As part of the vast reconstruction job, Johns-Manville Marinite, a light-weight panel made of asbestos, was used to attain modern fireproofing on the Brazil.  It forms the walls of rooms, public spaces, passageways and crew's quarters."

Several other firms that supplied materials entering into the reconstruction of the ship cited their part in the operation in advertising, and the New York Times in its special travel section on May 16 featured a six-column spread of the Brazil and several of her rooms, with a feature article by George F. Home, the paper’s shipping editor.  The same paper the following Sunday ran the photograph of the Brazil and the Argentina at Pier 32.

By air mail from Hamilton, Bermuda, dated May 22, came the following report on the Brazil from Ray Chanaud, who went along as photographer:—

The Brazil arrived here today, the largest passenger steamer to dock since 1939. Decked out in full dress, the Brazil was welcomed by Mr. J. J. Outerbridge, secretary of the Bermuda Trade Development Board and representative of the Chamber of Commerce.  A bright sun and warm weather greeted the 443 passengers as they debarked at Front Street, and of course, immediately made for the well-stocked shops.

"Major event of the trip south was the Captains get-together party Friday night in the Main Lounge.  Capt. Harry Sadler welcomed the passengers aboard the ship, made a complete round of the lounge to greet personally every guest.  Supervising the festivities was the Mooremack cruise directress Eleanor Britton, who had flown from Rio de Janeiro to make this maiden voyage of the Brazil.  Captain Sadler reports that the vessel is operating perfectly, and averaged 17.8 knots on Friday."

 *     *     *

As the News closes its forms the Brazil has returned to New York, and all attention is centered on her maiden scheduled sailing in the run to the South American east Coast, scheduled Friday, June 4th. With this sailing the Good Neighbor Fleet schedule of a regular sailing every other Friday night to Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Montevideo, Buenos Aires and Trinidad, which was interrupted early in 1942 when war summoned the three ships to a new career, will be resumed.  Reports indicate that old friends of the Brazil await with interest and with much planning the ships return to her old familiar ports of call.




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