The Brazil Returns
("The Mooremack News," June 1948)
(Courtesy of Vincent
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.
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
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:—
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.
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.
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
"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
"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.'"
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
"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
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.