Stories contained herein were published by and for Mooremack Employees Ashore and Afloat.

(Courtesy of Karin Cleary)


 January 25th, S.S. Mormacargo Launched

March 21st, S.S. Mormacvega Launched

The first two of the new series of Moore-McCormack Lines' Constellation Class cargoliners have been launched at the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation, a Division of Litton Industries, in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  They mark the third phase of the company’s multi-million dollar replacement program and the first ships in U.S. merchant marine history to have extensive electronic controls.

Mrs. Lawrence C. Marshall of Short Hills, N. J., wife of the vice chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank and a director of Moore-McCormack Lines, was the sponsor of the Mormacargo, assisted by Mrs. H. Van Brunt McKeever, also of Short Hills, her matron of honor. Those attending included distinguished guests from government, industry and banking. William T. Moore, chairman and president of Moore-McCormack Lines, gave the principal address preceding the launching.

Sponsor of the Mormacvega was Mrs. Lawrence F. Fiske of Darien, Connecticut, wife of the executive vice president and director of Moore-McCormack Lines. Assisting as maid of honor was her daughter, Miss Terry Lynn Fiske. Vice Admiral Roy A. Gano, USN, director of the Military Sea Transportation Service, was the principal speaker. Also in attendance were members of Congress, representatives of government and business and Moore-McCormack executives led by William T. Moore, chairman and president.

Advanced Technological Design

Twentieth and twenty-first ships to be built over a period of many years at the Ingalls Shipyards for Moore-McCormack Lines, the Mormacargo and Mormacvega present unusual technological advances in ship design and function. This is inevitable since progress in the maritime field has been a by-word for Moore-McCormack for over half a century: first to build under the 1936 Merchant Marine Act—first to build after World War II—first to build under the government’s accelerated replacement program for overcoming block obsolescence in the U.S. flag fleets and—now—the first U.S. flag automated ocean going cargoliners—called by the Maritime Administration "the fastest cargo ships in the world."



The unusual and advanced features distinguishing the Constellation Class ships are many and varied:

• Many electronic controls for engines, pump control, refrigerated cargo control, steam boiler control and more. The first U.S. pushbutton cargoliner, the Mormacargo, is expected to enter service in August.

• A "bulbous bow": a large bulb, built on the lowest portion of the bow, reduces the wave-pile-up, lessens water resistance, increases speed, decreases fuel consumption.

• Cargo—the lifeblood of cargoliners—handled in six holds with 29 hatch openings. Three holds are equipped with multiple hatch openings, free of obstructions, so that cargo may be stowed directly beneath the cargo handling gear. All standard size—and many more unusual size—parcels can be accommodated with minimum handling. Five and ten ton derricks serve all hatches; a 75-ton Stuelcken rig is available for No. 3 or No. 4 hatch. For speedy, easy access to the cargo holds, hatch covers are hydraulically operated, quick- opening type.

• Air conditioned cargo area amidships for special cargoes requiring controlled but not freezing temperatures. There is also 40,000 cubic feet of refrigerated space. Plastic-coated deep tanks which can be heated from the periphery are designed for handling bulk liquid cargoes.

• Four deluxe staterooms afford comfortable space for twelve passengers. Lounge, bar and rooms are all air conditioned, all attractively decorated. There is a five-deck passenger elevator.

• A speed of over 24 knots—said by the U.S. Maritime Administration to be the fastest merchant cargo ships in the world.

• Safety: life boats of plastic, self-bailing, self-righting, virtually unsinkable. The newest modern navigational equipment is carefully installed: improved radar, loran, radio direction finder, VHF radio telephone and more. Extensive alarm and monitor systems are rigidly controlled. Safety standards required of U.S. ships, highest in the world, are key features.

• Top-fired boilers of high efficiency and compact construction with improved engine room layout. The machinery operates efficiently because of high temperatures and pressures (850 PSI at 950 degrees F). The engines are electronically controlled from the bridge. Each ship has a sea water distilling plant capable of producing 20,000 gallons a day for boilers and ship consumption. The smokestacks of the ships are two tall king posts just abaft the deck housing for expulsion of soot clear of the deck.

• All of the Constellation Class vessels follow an astral naming pattern. The Mormacvega is named for Vega, star of the largest magnitude in the Constellation Lyra in the northern hemisphere—and boon to the sailors for countless generations. The Mormacargo is named for one the larger southern constellations, Argo. The four yet to come will bear similar heavenly suffixes to the familiar Mormac prefix.

• Each member of the crew on the Constellation Class ships has a single air conditioned stateroom with semi-private bath. Officers each have private rooms with bath. The officers and the crew have comfortable lounges



Tugless Liners Skilfully Docked

DOCKING THE SS ARGENTINA, North side Pier 97 North River without tugs Feb. 25, 1964.  The SS Argentina docked the morning of Feb. 25 on the north side of Pier 97 North River without tugs and made a perfect maneuver. Captain Paul Scott first timed his arrival to be slightly south of the pier in midstream just prior to the end of the flood tide. In this location, he waited until he observed that the tide was no longer flooding and the few minutes of slack water had begun. The vessel was then headed toward the north slip at about a 45 degree angle. The port anchor was dropped to the bottom to steady the bow. Moving ahead slowly, he approached the corner of the pier with the bow just clearing it.

In photo I the vessel has been brought against the docking camel at the corner of the pier and a heaving line thrown to the line handlers. This was the most difficult and dangerous part of the whole maneuver. The vessel must be landed without coming against the pier too hard, as its great weight could break the pilings and dent or fracture the hull also. Once landed, the next problem is to turn the vessel into the slip without the bow hitting the open pier across the slip. Photo II shows (dimly) one of the strong nylon mooring lines led to a bollard about two hundred feet from the end of the pier. This is being heaved on to turn the vessel—at the same time going ahead on the port engine and astern on the starboard engine to help the turning. Photo III shows that the port anchor has been hoisted just clear of the bottom, to allow the bow to swing. Also another headline is being led out of the bow chock. The vessel has now made about one half its turn into the slip and most of the danger is passed. Photo IV shows the line men shifting the head lines further up the dock as the vessel is nearly lined up with the pier and half its length is in the slip. Photo V shows the head line on its final bollard and about to be hove in. The spring line is being shifted up the dock, at the same time a stern line is being put out. A long messenger line had been led from the stern, up along the promenade deck and dropped on the pier end to get the stern line out quickly and keep the vessel's stern safely close to the pier. Photo VI shows the vessel in position, safe and sound, with a perfect docking completed.

In this photo you can see how close the next pier is. The slip is very narrow and the open pier is not strong enough for vessels other than barges to land on. This adds to the difficulty of docking on the North side of Pier 97.

Without taking credit away from the Masters of the SS United States and the "Queens," the width of the slip between their piers is twice what Captain Scott had here. Therefore, as the superliners mentioned are not twice as long as the Argentina, Captain Scott had the more difficult maneuver.

Everything was done by the vessel alone—not even a launch was used to run out the mooring lines as was done by the foreign vessels docking here.

Congratulations on a job of seamanship WELL DONE.

DOCKING AT 23rd ST. TERMINAL WITHOUT TUGS.  The problem of docking in the North River is one of tide and wind. At our 23rd Street Terminal although wind is a factor, there is no tidal problem; it is almost entirely a problem of space. From the end of our pier across the Gowanus Channel to Bushey’s shipyard is only 300 feet. In the shipyard there are three finger piers and a drydock that extend right to the bulkhead line at the edge of the channel. Often there are tugs or barges made fast to these piers and extend out into the channel. All our dockings were made on the South Outer Berth of 23rd Street. To add to the difficulties here, there is the old open, collapsing earth pier at 24th Street. Here there are ragged steel pilings at all angles, which a vessel cannot come up against without damage. Consequently a Master has to head his vessel correctly, turn into the slip at the right time, without too much headway, back just enough to stop the headway but close enough to get a bow line out and then go ahead in the slip far enough to have the stern clear the shipyard piers. Once a vessel started in, there was no backing out. The classic maneuver of landing against the flat outer end of the pier first and then breaking the vessel around, (as was done by the SS Argentina) could not be used because once docked bow in on the north side or stern in on the south side—the vessel could not get out without tugs.

Enough of the difficulties! For over a month the Masters of our vessels did angle their vessels as much as possible in Gowanus Channel, turned into the slip at the south side of the pier at 23rd Street, backed their engines until, from the bridge, they must have thought their propeller was chopping up the shipyard pier, and then gave an ahead bell with the bow so very close to the 23rd St. Pier. It all looked extremely close from our position on the pier; from the bridge of a large vessel it appeared there was not possibly enough room to make this maneuver. Once landed in the south side outer berth, vessels were either shifted ahead to the middle berth or backed and broken around the end of the pier to the north side, stern in. This meant much shifting of heavy mooring lines and exacting heaving and slacking and careful use of the engines to move these heavy vessels around.

To leave, a vessel was shifted to the outer end of the pier. In this position, a stern line was led up the north side of the pier and hove in until the bow was pulled off the face of the pier. Once the bow was swinging off the pier and headed for the center of the channel, the head lines and the stern spring line were let go. Then at the exact correct moment, the Master ordered full speed ahead. The stern line was let go as the vessel started to move and the vessel cleared the end of the pier at good speed, under control of the rudder with the stern line trailing clear of the propeller due to the thrust of the water. This was always a happy moment. The linemen, along with the shore officials, were happy and proud to see our vessels come and go with these difficult, but successful maneuvers.

The Masters concerned and their crews are to be complimented. This includes the engineers too, as signals to the engine room were quickly carried out and power given when power was needed. All these docking maneuvers were carried out by our own personnel as no special docking pilots were employed.




'Model Skipper' Is Waiting For His Ship To Come In

 Captain George P. Blanthorn

When Captain George P. Blanthorn leaves one Moore-McCormack Lines ship for another, in addition to the normal gear any skipper would transfer, he takes an assortment of tools and pieces of wood, and "a dream."  The dream is in the form of a 39-inch-at-the-keel-long model yawl, which the skipper built over 3 years, shaping and fashioning each piece himself.

Captain Blanthorn, master of the S.S. Mormactrade, dreams of owning a yawl like the model. However, he admits that acquisition of such a yawl now is no more than a dream. It would cost, he estimates, $43,000.

Captain Blanthorn has begun work on another project—carving a wood likeness of his wife. A native of Brooklyn, N. Y., Captain Blanthorn, 57, has been sailing for 40 years.

— Baltimore Sun



2 Brazilian Girls Cheered by Ship

Two Brazilian girls studying in Duluth high schools were cheered last fall when the vessel Mormacfir brought them a package with the flavor of their homeland.

 Irma Moroni and Gerlena Rodrigues met the Mormacfir at the Duluth Port Terminal to eagerly open a package from home, containing their favorite Brazilian canned food and popular Brazilian records.

 The vessel arrived in Duluth with a 792,000-pound cargo of coffee for the Andresen-Ryan Coffee Co., Duluth.

 John Andresen, president of the coffee company, made arrangements for delivery of the package to the girls. The ship’s captain, D. A. Haakinson, took personal charge of the gifts during the voyage from Brazil to Duluth.

 — Duluth Herald




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