Stories contained herein were published by and for Mooremack Employees Ashore and Afloat.
Announcement to the Press
Following is the release to the press, issued by the Federal Maritime Board, under Washington date line, on October 7th:
The largest merchant ship construction and replacement program for a private American steamship line was agreed to today by
representatives of the Company and the Government, Clarence G. Morse, Chairman of the Federal Maritime Board and Maritime Administrator, Maritime Administration, U. S. Department of Commerce announced.
The agreement reached calls for an estimated $313,000,000 ship construction program for the Moore-McCormack Lines, Inc.
Under the provisions of the program, the Federal Maritime Board and the Moore-McCormack Lines agreed to the terms of a 20-year
operating-differential subsidy contract to cover two new cargo passenger liners to be built by Moore-McCormack to replace the Argentina and the Brazil now operating in their "Good Neighbor" service to South America and the other
Moore-McCormack operations on essential American foreign trade routes.
The contract is drawn on a "stand-by" basis, effective January 1, 1958. Under the provisions of the agreement, the Moore-McCormack
Lines, Inc., also agrees to undertake a replacement program that calls for the building of 31 additional new cargo vessels to replace ships of the Mooremack fleet; the first contracts for the cargo ships are to be let in 1956.
The two ships to replace the S.S. Argentina and the S.S. Brazil are to be contracted for by the Moore-McCormack
Company. Low bidder for the two vessels has been declared by the Federal Maritime Board to be The Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation of Pascagoula, Mississippi, at $24,444,181 per ship.
The ships will be 617 feet long, with a speed of 21 knots, have a gross tonnage of 18,200 and carry 553 passengers each, all in one
The Federal Maritime Board, meeting in the American Embassy in Rome, Italy, on September 10, 1955, determined the
construction-differential subsidy to be applied to the building of the two new cargo-passenger liners. The price was determined by the Board’s estimate of the comparative foreign cost, which was set at $14,680,000 per ship for
a total of $29,360,000 for the two.
The Federal Maritime Board, in its determination of the foreign cost of the ships, selected the Netherlands as its criteria under
the Board’s responsibility to determine the low cost area for the purpose of calculating the foreign cost of the ships.
The determination was made after the Board, composed of Mr. Morse, Chairman, G. J. Minetti and Ben H. Guill, Members, and Arthur J.
Williams, Secretary, had completed an inspection of European shipyards.
A construction-differential ratio between the U. S. cost and the estimated foreign cost was set at 39.94%. This was based on the
lowest responsible bid from an American yard, the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation at $24,444,181 per ship, or $48,888,362 for two ships.
The difference between the cost of the ships in the U. S. shipyard and the foreign cost, $19,528,362 for the two vessels, is borne
by the Federal Government under its subsidy laws.
In addition, the amount to be paid by the Government will be increased by $455,610 for the two ships, which represents the cost of
national defense features for the two vessels.
Under the 20-year "stand-by" operating-differential subsidy contract agreed to by the Federal Maritime Board and the
Moore-McCormack Lines, Inc., the Government, under the authority of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, will aid the Moore-McCormack Lines by paying the difference between American costs and foreign costs in the categories of wages,
subsistence of officers and crew, insurance and maintenance and repairs, to permit the American line to compete with its foreign competition on the route.
In announcing the agreement today, Federal Maritime Board Chairman Morse said:
"This is a substantial contribution toward the goals that this Administration has set for the American shipping and shipbuilding
industries. It is a step to overcome block obsolescence, it provides for private financing of construction and it means that some nearly 27,000 man years of work will be provided in American shipbuilding centers with the
nationwide stimulation that such construction provides to industry throughout our country.
"Together with other steamship lines agreeing to long-range replacement schedules, this agreement will help place a regular flow of
orders to our shipyards, thus guaranteeing the United States a stable base of shipbuilding skills and facilities which can be expanded to meet emergency needs, if need arises.
"All Americans will share in the benefits of the stimulation to trade and commerce that our action here today assures."
List of those present:
FEDERAL MARITIME BOARD & MARITIME ADMINISTRATION
Clarence G. Morse, Chairman
Ben H. Guill, Member
A. J. Williams, Secretary
Rear Admiral Walter C. Ford (USN Ret.), Deputy Maritime Administrator
Edward D. Ransom, General Counsel
MOORE-MCCORMACK LINES, INC.
Emmet J. McCormack, Chairman of the Board
Rear Admiral R. C. Lee (USNR), Vice Chairman
A. F. Chrystal, Vice President and Secretary
Artist's conception of the new passenger ships which Moore-McCormack Lines plans to build for its service between the Atlantic Coast of the United States and the
east coast of South America. There will be two of these liners, under the provisions of the agreement reached in Washington on Oct. 7th by the Company and the Federal Maritime Board, as reported in other stories of this
issue. Each of the liners will be 617 feet long, with a speed of 21 knots, a gross tonnage of 18,200 and space for 533 passengers each, all in one class. The Company will also build 31 new cargo liners.
Brasil Launching Sets Pace Says R. I. Ingalls
As the new SS BRASIL slides down the ways on her launching Monday afternoon, the men and women of Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation,
the people of the Gulf Coast and throughout the Nation who contributed to her construction can well be proud of the part they are playing in maintaining a modern and efficient United States merchant marine.
This new ship is the largest passenger vessel to be built in the United States since 1952. It embodies the most modern technical
developments. But of more interest than its physical dimensions and engineering details is the fact that it is symbolic of the readiness of the private American ship owners, working in cooperation with our Government, to maintain
a leading position on the ocean trade routes essential to our economy and our defense posture.
The great problem today in our maritime affairs is to renew and steadily improve the quality of our merchant fleet in the face of
rising costs and intense competition from other maritime nations. It is likewise of vital importance to the security of the nation that we maintain a healthy shipbuilding industry. To continue in good health we must achieve
stability in the outlook for new orders, year after year — and there are encouraging signs ahead that this need is recognized to a greater degree than in the past.
In 1957 the Federal Maritime Board and the major steamship lines have agreed to ship replacement programs which stretch out over
the next 15 years for the construction of some 88 merchant ships with an estimated value of one billion dollars. This, along with contracts signed in the previous three years, totals nearly $2-billion, and is the "hard core" of
our ship replacement outlook. In addition, new plans, new concepts of special types of ships to meet modern transportation demands, are taking form.
The shipbuilding industry, the shipping industry, and the Federal Government agencies, have long had as their objective the
education of the American public to the need for maintaining its strength on the seas, both naval and merchant marine. There have been unmistakable signs that progress has been made along those lines.
We must not, however, let the recent great scientific advances in such exciting fields of missiles, rockets and sputniks, obscure
the fact that we are applying scientific and technological improvements to the design and construction of ships. Certainly here at Ingalls, with such work as the nuclear-powered submarines on the books, we are conscious of the
application of new technology to naval science.
The article that was here is now on the page for the
cargo liner, Mormacspruce
Hugh Lobdell, veteran purser of Mooremack ships, visited 5 Broadway during a recent stay ashore and told an interesting story based
on a voyage of the Mormacsea to Formosa during the Summer months.
The ship, commanded by Captain William Drobish, under charter, sailed in July from Gulf ports to the Pacific Coast, thence to
Formosa with a shipment of trucks, motors, gasoline and oil, consigned to the Chinese Nationalist forces. Mr. Lobdell was her purser.
In the port of Keelung, the ship was boarded by Major General Chung Chai-Chen, chief in that port for the commission in charge of
supervision of military aid from abroad. He had never before seen the Mooremack stack. Captain Drobish invited him and his staff to lunch.
During lunch one of the general’s staff, a Colonel N. Lee, recalled that during the war he had met on two occasions a Mooremack
official serving in the Pacific on the staff of Admiral Ernest J. King. The conversation developed that the man in question was Admiral (then Captain) Robert C. Lee, vice chairman of the board of Moore-McCormack Lines.
Next day General Chai-Chen sent to the ship a native carving in bleached ash and pine, on a background of camphor wood, with the
request that it be given to Admiral Lee in appreciation of the Mormacsea's service in carrying out a national policy of aid to the Chinese Nationalists. Mr. Lobdell presented the carving to Admiral Lee at his office.
Pursers Swap Places
When the S.S. Brazil arrived in New York in mid-August, from South America, Tom Murphy, her chief purser, came ashore and
his place on sailing day was filled by John Perry, who normally served the Brazil as cabin class purser. Three weeks later, when the S.S. Argentina came in, Ernie Cerf, her chief purser, also came ashore, and when
she sailed later that same week, Mr. Murphy was her chief purser, Mr. Cerf waited until the Brazil completed that voyage on Sept. 26, then joined her as chief purser in Mr. Murphy’s place and Mr. Perry resumed his duties
as cabin class purser.
All of this had the single effect of an exchange of chief pursers. Both Mr. Murphy and Mr. Cerf are among the best known pursers
in the merchant marine.
Mr. McCormack at Seventy-Five
Emmet J. McCormack, Chairman of the Board of Moore-McCormack Lines, was 75 years old on Friday, Sept. 2nd. On Wednesday of that
week, Mr. McCormack was guest of 115 members of his staff at a surprise birthday party at New York’s Downtown Athletic Club. Messages poured in from leaders in public and business affairs, including one from Mayor Robert F.
Wagner of New York City, which said: "The great port of New York has grown and prospered through the steady flow of ships in and
out of the port. Your more than 60 years of active participation in the shipping industry has contributed in no small measure to this growth." The source of messages ranged from Stockholm to Buenos Aires, the Atlantic to the
Rear Admiral Robert C. Lee, Vice Chairman of the Board, speaking for the staff, presented an illumined scroll to Mr. McCormack and
it was announced that the employees would make a birthday gift in the form of a contribution to the American Red Cross hurricane relief fund.
A few days later, aboard the S.S. Argentina, at Pier 32, North River, he was guest of honor at a party sponsored by Mrs.
McCormack and by Mrs. Lee. The guests included personal and business friends, and leaders in public life, commerce and education, including Brooklyn’s Borough President, John Cashmore; New York City’s Corporation Counsel Peter
Campbell Brown; Park Commissioner Robert Moses; Rear Admiral Gordon McLintock, superintendent of the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point; General John M. Franklin, and Rear Admiral Giles C. Stedman, respectively
president and vice president of the United States Lines; Rear Admiral Edmund Moran, president of Moran Towing & Transportation Company; Surrogate Christopher McGrath of Bronx County; and many others.
Presiding at the party aboard the Argentina was Mr. Clarence Francis, retired Chairman of the Board of General Foods, a
longtime friend of the honored guest. Mr. Francis called on several of Mr. McCormack’s friends and associates in the audience, including Capt. George L. Holt and Gerald E. Donovan, Mooremack vice presidents, to discuss briefly
their early association with him, in the spirit of a “This Is Your Life” program.
These informal and humorous remarks recalled Mr. McCormack’s first venture into business as a peanut vendor in a Buffalo Bill’s
Wild West show, in a Brooklyn park, his adventures as a towboat captain, through the years of his operation and ownership of merchant ships.
Mr. Francis was eloquent in his description of Mr. McCormack’s career as a business man and participant in public life.
“He would ask no greater reward,” said Mr. Francis, “than friendship, and I can imagine no richer reward than the friendship
represented by this gathering.”
Newspapermen interviewed Mr. McCormack on the eve of his birthday and were told by him that the task of educating the American
public in the need of an adequate merchant marine would never be completely ended, that it must be continued throughout the years. He professed, however, to see a good omen in that fact, in that the industry would be "kept on its
The observance of Mr. McCormack’s birthday became the occasion for a gathering together of old friends and associates, most of them
members of the group that has served with the guest of honor in the company he founded in 1913 with the late Albert V. Moore, others not of Mooremack but closely associated in his personal life.
These latter included Eugene F. Moran, Sr., Commissioner of the Port of New York Authority; H. W. Warley, president of the Calmar
Steamship Line; and James Ward, of Bethlehem Steel Corporation, who grew up with Mr. McCormack and attended grade school with him. They shared the dais with him.
The flood of congratulatory wires and letters that poured into 5 Broadway served in a way as an indication of Mr. McCormack’s
standing in the community and in business. William T. Moore, president of the company, who had sailed ten days before for Scandinavia, sent his and Mrs. Moore’s congratulations. Percy C. Ebbott, Vice Chairman of the Board of
Directors of Chase Manhattan Bank and a director of Moore-McCormack Lines, who had sailed for Europe two hours before the luncheon, sent this wire:
"Sorry to miss being with the group of your close friends celebrating the fact that you are seventy-five years young. You have
taught me many things—straight thinking, kindness, love of your fellow man, humility and honesty of intent. You are an inspiration to all who have ever had the opportunity of knowing you. I am proud to think of you as my
Hon. João Carlos Muniz, Ambassador of Brasil to the United States, sent this message:
"Hearty Congratulations and Many Happy Returns on your birthday. May you be preserved to continue your long service to the cause
of friendship between our two countries."
From the Finland Steamship Company, in Helsinki, came a wire from Birger Krogius, speaking for the directors of that company,
begging to "extend to you heartiest congratulations and best wishes." This recalled a personal friendship that extended back thirty years or more. The Finnish Board Mills Association also sent a wire, again recalling an old business friendship. William Giesen, general manager of the Maritime Association of the Port of New York, recalling that Mr.
McCormack had served as president of that body four years, from 1932-1935, said that he had "made an indelible mark on the progress of our organization" and "I feel it has been extremely good fortune on my part to be among your
many friends and acquaintances."
From Captain John P. Kudlich, master of the cargo liner Mormacmail, came a wire, "My officers and crew join me in wishing
you many happy returns on your 75th birthday," and from men formerly associated with him and now retired — Henry P. Molloy, the first secretary of the company, and Ivan D. Eby, formerly engineering vice president — came messages.
Walter L. Green, president of the American Bureau of Shipping, in a letter which was read, said:
"Knowing you as I do, it is almost impossible to believe that a man of your activity, keen mind and vital energy can be attaining
his seventy-fifth birthday. But I am reliably informed that it is a fact.
"Looking back to World War One and recalling as I do the early days of your career as a steamship owner, there stands out a
striking resemblance between owner and fleet. Where in the world is a finer fleet than the one which flies your house flag? And show me an owner who commands more respect, admiration and affection than you do."
Francis T. Greene, President of the American Merchant Marine Institute, also wrote. Gerald E. Donovan, vice president of
Moore-McCormack Lines, who made a flying trip to New York from Washington with Ira L. Ewers to attend the luncheon, brought with him the greetings of the staff at the Maritime Commission. Commissioner Vincent A. G. O’Connor of
New York’s Department of Marine and Aviation also sent congratulations.
And other messages came, from Mooremack people in all the South American and Scandinavian offices, from all the offices in the
United States, including a giant-sized card from Philadelphia signed by all the staff. Admiral Lee, presenting the scroll, recalled that he had been associated with Mr. McCormack thirty-five years, and he held his association,
as did all who were in the Mooremack organization, as one of the richest treasures in his possession.
Mr. McCormack, obviously affected, spoke briefly his thanks and reiterated his often-expressed statement that without the men and
women in the ranks who worked day after day, Moore-McCormack would not now exist. He recalled his association with Albert V. Moore, whose death he described as one of the major tragedies of his life.
"I’m only the captain of this team," he said. "You are the team."
Louis F. Klein, veteran Mooremackite, now retired, presided as toastmaster and James F. Roche, director of public relations, read
the wires and letters and announced that the employees had decided, with Mr. McCormack’s enthusiastic approval, to have their birthday gift be a contribution to the Red Cross.
Newspapers and magazines concerned with the shipping industry from coast to coast announced the milestone in the McCormack career
and gave space to a recital of the facts of his career. They described him as "dean of American shipping," cited the fact that the government of Brasil and the King of Sweden had decorated him for his activities in developing
trade between the United States and their countries. From the former he holds the decoration of the Order of the Southern Cross, from the latter the decoration of the Royal Order of Vasa Knighthood. He is also an honorary
citizen of the State of Maryland and the City of St. Louis, a former deputy commissioner of the New York City Department of Commerce, and has been associated with practically all organizations concerned with commerce of the port
of New York and with American shipping.
These include the presidency of the Maritime Association of the Port of New York for four years, the presidency of the Propeller
Club of the Port of New York, and Chairmanship of the American Steamship Owners Association, predecessor of the American Merchant Marine Institute.
Mr. McCormack was born in Brooklyn and entered shipping as a lad of fourteen when he undertook four jobs with four different
employers simultaneously at 26 South Street, then in the heart of shipping of New York. Each employer paid him $1.00 per week. One was a ship’s chandler; another supplied dunnage for the stowage of case oil; another was a
stevedore and the fourth operated towboats.
He became a solicitor for dunnage contracts and, as the importance of steamships grew, he became a bunker coal salesman, then
rounded up funds with which he purchased a tow and salvage boat. He named the craft America, a gesture typical of his expansive thinking then and ever since. He was then only 25 years old. One of his business ventures was
the organization of the first ferry between Brooklyn and Staten Island.
In 1905, Mr. McCormack organized the Commercial Coal Company with a view to supplying British tramp ships. He took the coal from
railroad cars on terminal sidings to the ships at their berths. As he expanded his operations, he opened offices at 29 Broadway. During the course of this activity he became acquainted with Albert V. Moore, secretary of the
Tweedie Trading Company, whose activities included ship chartering, among others, and in 1913 the two men formed Moore & McCormack Company, Inc., to charter ships, then to own them.
The story of the growth of the operations which these two men launched has become a vital party of the history of the merchant
marine in the current century, involving as it does the chartering of the S.S. Montara to South America, a pioneering American flag operation in that field, then expansion into Scandinavia and eventually to all parts of
During the First World War Mr. McCormack served as advisor overseas to the Chairman of the United States Shipping Board, the Navy
and War Departments on matters of transportation. After the war he was appointed by President Warren G. Harding, along with the present Governor of New York State, W. Averell Harriman, and the late Kermit Roosevelt, to organize
and direct the operations of the United States Lines until the service was sold by the federal government to private interests.
Through the years many organizations have honored Mr. McCormack for his contributions to shipping and for his civic activities. In
1952, the Robert L. Hague Post, American Legion, awarded him its Distinguished Service medal. In 1954, the New York Freight Forwarders and Brokers Association designated him as "Man of the Year." Last Spring, the New York State
American Legion honored him at public exercises held at the New York State Maritime College.
Mr. McCormack is a member of the American Bureau of Shipping and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. He is a
director of the Police Athletic League, a governor of the India House, and a director of the New York Dock Company. He founded the Kingsboro National Bank and was its first President.
Lee Becomes Admiral
The appointment of Robert C. Lee, Vice Chairman of the Board of Moore-McCormack Lines, to the rank of Rear Admiral in the United
States Naval Reserve is announced. This represents a promotion from the rank of Commodore, which he had held since 1945.
Admiral Lee, a member of the Moore-McCormack organization for 35 years, is a native of Nebraska, was graduated from the United
States Naval Academy at Annapolis, in 1910, and served in the First World War as fire control officer of the U. S. S. Arizona, then the newest battleship of the fleet. Later he was assigned to destroyer duty in the Bay of
Biscay, and was U. S. Naval Port Officer at Nantes, France.
He resigned from the Navy in 1920 to join the executive staff of Moore-McCormack Lines, but remained in the Naval Reserve, with
rank of Commander, a rank he held when called to active duty in the Second World War in June, 1942. He was promoted immediately to Captain and two years later to Commodore.
His first post in the Second World War was as Special Assistant to the Chief of the Naval Transportation Service. In this
capacity, he visited practically all the ports of the United States through which troops and supplies were moving to the arenas of war, then served on assignments to England and to several of the Pacific Islands, Australia and
In September, 1943, Admiral Lee was assigned to Honolulu to help organize the task forces for the Tarawa and Kwajalein invasions,
then was sent to London as Navy representative on SHAEF, under General Eisenhower, in planning the Normandy invasion. After the invasion, he was made Shipping Control Officer for Continental Europe with offices successively in
Cherbourg, Havre and Antwerp, until the fall of Germany.
Admiral Lee holds decorations from the government of Poland for his efforts in opening the port of Gdynia to world commerce and
from the government of Brasil for his efforts in the upbuilding of travel and trade relations between that nation and the United States.
He is a former National President of the Propeller Club of the United States.
The several hundred thousand readers of the "Philadelphia Inquirer," one of the nation’s truly fine newspapers, went cruising one
recent April morning to South America with an unidentified member of the paper’s staff.
Under the caption, "South American Cruise Offers Many Thrills," the Inquirer told this story:
"At Pier 32 in the Hudson River or steaming out of Trinidad, or docking at fabulous Rio, there’s a ship that will please your
fancy. She’s big but not palatial. For all her wandering habits, she’s a homebody. If your own comfortable living room, your favorite restful mattress, the cook who knows how you like your two-inch steaks, were to put to
sea—with all outdoors for a sun-deck, you’d have the same luxury as you get on a Moore-McCormack South American Cruise liner.
"Heading South, with the air growing softer by the minute, 38 days of lazy luxury, playing, resting on deck, enjoying your
stateroom-on-the-sea, eating epicurean food, lie ahead.
"Ashore, too, the points of interest are what you want to see. In tropical Trinidad you’ll mosey along Frederick St., picking up
bargains in British woolens and perfumes. You’ll go on a jaunt over a super highway built by U. S. Marines to Maraces Beach. Here, you’ll be serenaded by a Calypso band, join an intriguing picnic, swim in a palm-ringed bay. At
Barbados, you’ll enjoy typical island sightseeing, drive through sugar cane fields, lunch in a 'pirate' castle.
"After adventuring in the West Indies, your next stop will be Brazil. In our largest Good Neighbor’s ancient capital of Bahia
you’ll visit a 16th Century church ablaze with gold, a modern hotel, magnificent as any you’ve seen back home.
"After Bahia, the cruise ship stops in one of South America’s most fabulous cities. From the moment the S.S. Brazil or the
S.S. Argentina pulls alongside the dock, Rio de Janeiro spells excitement. You’ll spend two and a half days altogether sightseeing in Rio.
"In case Santos, your next stop, just means coffee to you, an excursion can be arranged to show you one of the lushest seaside
resorts in South America. Below the equator you’ll stop at Uruguay’s capital—Montevideo.
"After Uruguay, your ship heads up the Rio de La Plata and soon you’re in Argentina. Mooremack Cruise Liners leave New York every
The Congress Cruise
One of the most striking adventures in passenger operation ever undertaken by Moore-McCormack Lines was completed the morning of
Aug. 17th when the S.S. Brazil arrived at Pier 32, North River, in New York City. Aboard the ship were 328 pilgrims under the leadership of His Eminence Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York, returning from
the 36th International Eucharistic Congress in Rio de Janeiro.
The terminal was permeated by a gala spirit much like that which had marked the ship’s departure the afternoon of July 7th, only now the assignment had
been completed and the joyful reunion of families and the sight of familiar faces added their bit to the general feeling of good will.
The television, motion picture and newspaper audiences were again being prepared for a coverage of the event, just as they had when
the Cardinal and his group sailed. And in the records was evidence of a wonderfully successful trip, successful from all standpoints.
Indeed, when the ship, southbound, was en route from Rio to Santos and the pilgrims had experienced Mooremack service, both in the
normal operation of a passenger ship at sea and those special problems that had arisen in connection with the Congress, Cardinal
Spellman sent the following radio message to William T. Moore, President of Moore-McCormack Lines:
"Wish to express gratitude in the name of all my companions and myself for all the courtesies and kindnesses far beyond the call of
duty which we have received from your staff on this ship and in Rio de Janeiro."
Which prompted Mr. Moore to reply:
"Please allow me to send you Mr. McCormack’s and my thanks for your generous cable. We are indeed most appreciative and trust that
your voyage may continue to be a happy and a pleasant one. Kindest regards."
The feeling of good will made itself felt the moment His Eminence came to Pier 32, about an hour before sailing time. As he
progressed down the pier to the gangplank hundreds of persons, including pilgrims and friends who had come to see them sail, pier workers, and others, applauded and called out their greeting, many of them kneeling to kiss the
Episcopal ring. The rail was crowded as he came aboard and proceeded to the fore area of the Promenade Deck, where cameras had been set up for movie and television operations and where reporters interviewed him.
Cardinal Spellman and Captain Jesse R. Hodges, master of the Brazil, were co-hosts at a reception to the passengers on deck
the second night out, and repeated their roles later northbound. All the events of the usual cruise were carried out, including new movies, costume parties, deck and pool sports, under the direction of Eleanor Britton, Phil
Braxton and Nikki Biggs, together with a series of daily Masses and other religious services under supervision of Msgr. Gustav J. Schultheiss, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of New York.
Twelve altars had been placed in the ship by Msgr. John J. O’Donnell, Chaplain of the Port. The ship’s library was transformed
into a permanent chapel the duration of the cruise and a large altar was erected on the platform of the main lounge, where Cardinal Spellman said Mass daily except for two occasions, when he went to the aft dining room to say
Mass for members of the crew and when he left the ship at Montevideo to fly to Paraguay and Iguassú Falls. He distributed Communion at all his Masses.
The crew invited him to a meeting in the aft dining room one evening and he responded with enthusiasm. He addressed the men, as
did Msgr. O’Donnell and James F. Roche, of Moore-McCormack Lines, who was aboard as press officer. The Cardinal announced that he had assigned priests to hear the confessions of the crew, in both Spanish and Portuguese.
All along the route the ship was hailed. In Bahia, the first stop, Cardinal Spellman said Mass in the historic Cathedral. The
State Department assigned a television crew to this service, and later in the voyage the pilgrims saw films taken in Bahia which had meanwhile been distributed through most of South America.
The highlight, of course, was Rio de Janeiro, where a vast area had been filled in the center of the city near Santos Dumont
airport and facilities set up to accommodate pilgrims from all nations outside the Iron Curtain. Cardinal Spellman presided at midnight Mass for the men and the Brazil’s pilgrims participated en masse. Some 500 priests
distributed the Eucharist to more than 250,000 that night.
Again in Santos and São Paulo and in Montevideo the Cardinal presided at services attended by the townspeople and all the pilgrims.
The U. S. Ambassadors to Brasil and Uruguay, respectively, the Hons. James C. Dunn and Dempster Mclntosh, boarded the ship in Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo to extend formal greeting and later were hosts at formal receptions.
The press had asked His Eminence on sailing day if he planned to visit Buenos Aires and he had replied that his ticket provided for
a trip all the way. However, en route he reached the decision that it was not a proper time for him to go ashore in Argentina. Difficulties involving the government and the Roman Catholic Church were held to explain this
decision. However, all the other pilgrims went ashore in Buenos Aires, with Msgr. Schultheiss serving as spiritual director.
George Craddock, Mooremack passenger traffic manager for Brasil, boarded the ship at Bahia and remained aboard to Rio. He provided
invaluable service in the planning for activities during the Congress and earned the personal commendation of Cardinal Spellman. But the success of the operation was effected because all personnel, at sea and ashore, lent their
finest efforts from start to finish. Cardinal Spellman’s leadership provided effective inspiration which contributed much to this success.
The Captain Withdraws
One of the most dramatic and inspiring experiences involving merchant seamen and worthy of inclusion in any volume of human
experience, was staged in the darkened waters of the Pacific four years ago when a Moore-McCormack freighter, called the Meredith Victory, loaded some 14,000 panic-stricken Koreans in the beleaguered port of Hungnam
and moved them in three days to the protection of Pusan on Koje Island.
Three days before Christmas, 1951, with the Communist forces sweeping across Korea, the Meredith Victory, in Hungnam, was
asked to help relieve a desperate situation by removing refugees, driven from their homes before the onrushing hordes. The Meredith Victory was not equipped to carry passengers. She had a crew of 35. But her master,
Captain L. P. LaRue, then 37 and a serious-minded man where ethics, particularly charity, were concerned, offered his ship for whatever she could do.
Details of that story have been told in the Reader’s Digest, in periodicals of all types. The picture of the young merchant marine
captain watching the hordes pile aboard his ship, held a dramatic quality that had universal appeal.
Recently, another facet of this story has come to light, and it is probably even more dramatic than any other. Captain LaRue,
whose decision saved the lives of those 14,000 persons, has taken a step which he hopes may strengthen the chance of saving his own most cherished possession — his soul. For Captain LaRue is now Brother Marinus, of the
Benedictine Missionaries, located at St. Paul’s Abbey, Newton, New Jersey.
Captain LaRue underwent surgery in Japan last year, and as he has stated in a letter to a friend, took occasion during his period
of recuperation to consider the course of his life and of his future. Always a deeply religious man, the captain reached the conclusion that his way to salvation lay, not on the deck of a ship or, for that matter, any place in
the world at large. He believed he could find peace and happiness in the life of a religious. He therefore entered St. Paul’s, to consider further. He decided to
It is typical of the man, and it is probably part of the explanation of the Brother’s decision, that when the editor of THE
MOOREMACK NEWS wrote him seeking permission to have his story told publicly, he learned that no one in the Abbey until then had known that their new Brother was one of the outstanding men in American shipping.
In a letter to his immediate superior in the company, Marine Superintendent Capt. H. S. Mayo, Brother Marinus wrote:
"Going to sea had many facets which were enjoyable, but each of us in his own manner must walk the Road to Eternity alone and I
feel certain that for me the Road stretches from here onward.
"I shall miss all the good friends ashore and afloat and if I have wronged or injured anyone in any way I hope I shall be forgiven.
As for me, I shall always remember that from top to bottom the personnel of The Good Neighbor Fleet were in fact all good neighbors.
"News of the successful progress of Mooremack will always delight and interest me, and if there is anything I can do to assist I
shall be happy to comply.
"So, then, it is goodbye, Captain, to you and to all hands. It was a wonderful twelve years!"