Fred Heess: Progress Report on New Passenger Ships
Although construction of the new passenger vessels was held up initially due to steel shortages, practically all of the steel has now been delivered
to the shipyard. More than 11,000 tons of steel has been fabricated for the two vessels with almost 4,000 tons erected on the building ways for the ffirst vessel. At the present rate of construction, launching of the
first vessel is expected on or before September 27, 1957.
The lower decks up to and including "B" Deck have practically all of the steel
work in position and the plating of the shell has progressed up to "B" Deck. The bow and the stern assemblies should be erected within the next week or two.
Concurrent with the erection of the hull steel, the piping installations, machinery foundations, and the machinery are being installed. The warehouses of the shipyards are bulging with
equipment that has been delivered and is awaiting installation.
Outfitting of "E" Deck is to commence shortly and each of the Decks above
"E" is scheduled to be outfitted commencing at 30-day intervals so that the Promenade Deck and the Boat Deck will be ready for outfitting about mid-August.
The second hull is advancing rapidly and seems to be catching up with the first.
Close to 500 men are now working on
the shipways, and this number is being increased every week. It has been estimated that close to 3,000 men will be working aboard these vessels before they are completed. Definite progress is being made.
Mormactide Rudder Repaired at B.A. Without Drydocking
Mormactide rudder damage proved no problem in B.A. recently with combined efforts of
Mooremack and Argentine Navy finishing repairs with "No loss of time."
In order to get the damaged part of the rudder sufficiently above water, it was necessary to leave 450 tons southbound cargo in No. 1 Hatch;
discharge 2,000 tons on maximum overtime from Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5; Butterworth four tanks in No. 2 Hatch, and then ballast them with 1,750 tons of water to sink the bow and lift the stern. Final draft was, forward 26'2", aft
Repairmen from the Buenos Aires Navy Yard started working 0700 on February 19 and finished at 0600 on February 22 at which hour, discharge of
ballast and normal operations started.
Meanwhile, during repairs, all Buenos Aires bookings offered were loaded in temporary or permanent stowage in No. 1 and No. 2 Hatches to assist
in lifting the stern; also meeting our commitments and keeping our customers happy.
Looking from right to left we see Ted Kelpien, American Bureau Surveyor, Chief Engineer Edwards, Buenos Aires Operations Manager C. W. Finstrom, and Assistant American
Bureau Surveyor Rodolfo Nickmann.
Ships "Argentina" and "Brazil"
Mooremack's new cruise ships will have the same names as the Company's present passenger liners—Brazil and Argentina—it
has been announced by Emmet J. McCormack, Board Chairman.
Launching and christening ceremonies for the first of the two new ships have been tentatively set for September 27, 1957, Mr. McCormack said.
Equipping and outfitting the modern $25,000,000 vessels will take another six months and maiden voyages are expected to be scheduled for early in 1958.
"To us," Mr. McCormack commented, "it would be unthinkable to name our new ships anything but Brazil and Argentina. In the first place, the
names honor two of our great 'good neighbor' countries. And in the second place, you'd search the records of the American Merchant Marine through and through without finding prouder histories than those of the present Brazil
"A ship, like a human being, has personality. We are sure the new Brazil and the new Argentina will have personalities as
wonderful as those now afloat."
"The present Brazil and Argentina," Mr. McCormack reminisced, "inaugurated luxury passenger service to the East Coast of South
America back in 1938 when the U.S. Government instituted an all-out program to improve relations with South American countries. The ships served as a physical link through which better commercial, industrial and cultural
relations were cemented with the nations below the Equator. They transported tens of thousands of United States citizens from every state in the Union to and from South America; and citizens of all the nations of South America
used them to travel northward to the U.S."
In World War II, the ships were taken over by the Navy in 1942 and converted into troop transports. They carried over 700,000 service men and
thousands of tons of equipment across the Atlantic and Pacific and all over the world. They and a sister ship now retired, Uruguay, were at the forefront in the attack of Oran in North Africa in November 1942; they came out of
this and many other noteworthy engagements with the enemy unscathed. Often they traveled the hazardous sea lanes unescorted. They are "happy and lucky ships," in the words of Mr. McCormack.
In 1948 when they were returned to Moore-McCormack, they were honored by Navy spokesmen who paid them the tribute of including them among the
outstanding troop ships that served the country during the war.
In presenting the Naval Reserve Flag to the Brazil when she was released from naval service, Admiral Ralph S. Riggs, Director of the
Naval Reserve, said, "The Brazil's peacetime record was exceeded only by the outstanding job she did during World War II."
"So," Mr. McCormack said, "we are arranging that these two proud American ship names will live on."