WINTER 1955-56

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

(Courtesy of Bob and Ken Bradsell)


A Musician At Sea

This is the story of a man of many talents, of wide experience, of a very high quality of loyalty.  His name is Sy Nathan; on seeing that name many hundreds of persons who have traveled on Moore-McCormack passenger liners will again have in their minds pleasant thoughts of happy days and nights at sea.Sy Nathan at his Piano.

Sy conducts the orchestra of the liner Brazil.  He spent six weeks ashore this past Autumn and sailed again on Dec. 22nd, happy to be back with his many friends. Incidentally, he was starting his thirty-first voyage aboard a Mooremack ship in his capacity as orchestra leader.

Eighteen of his voyages were aboard the S.S. Uruguay, under both Captain A. P. Spaulding, now retired, and Captain Jesse R. Hodges.  Twelve of his voyages have been made aboard the Brazil, first under Captain Harry N. Sadler, also now retired, and under her present master, Captain Hodges.

Born in London, Sy was a pianist almost as soon as he knew what fingers were for. He was teaching piano at fifteen, and was soon playing in various orchestras.  As maestro, he played nine years at New Yorkís Biltmore Hotel, five years at the Commodore.  He toured with Helen Hayes as musical director of the play "Victoria Regina" and during the war and after it he toured 7Ĺ years with U.S.O. camp shows all over the United States and in 105 veteransí hospitals.

People like to dance to Sy Nathanís music and he loves to play for them. An ideal combination, obviously.



Reid Made Lieutenant

 The Navy announces the promotion to a lieutenancy of Charles G. Reid, Jr., USNR, for six years a member of the Moore-McCormack organization who, prior to being called back into naval service had become executive officer of the S.S. Brazil.  His promotion to lieutenant came while he was serving with the Atlantic Amphibian Force flagship USS Pocono (AGC 16) as Navigator.

Lt. Reid Lieutenant Charles G. Reid, Jr.was graduated from the Merchant Marine Academy at Kingís Point, L. I., in 1947 and came to Mooremack after serving a year in the South African and European areas.  With Mooremack he earned his Unlimited Masterís license. Summoned to active duty in the Naval Reserve he reported to the Pocono.

Lt. Reid is a native of Washington, lives with his wife in Jackson Heights, N. Y.



Seamen to the Rescue

Frank J. OíDonnell, Mooremack area manager in Norway, reports an interesting incident involving two young cadet-midshipmen of the Mormacport which may be classified under "international good will."

When the Mormacport was in Oslo in early October, the two cadet-midshipmen, Terrence L. Rich and Robert K. Stanley, having shore leave, were walking along a quay when they saw an elderly man topple off and into the water.

Several persons witnessed the incident and were close to the scene, but no one acted.  Young Rich stripped off his blues as he saw the man about to disappear below the surface, plunged in and brought him up.  Meanwhile, young Stanley descended a ladder with line and helped bring the man to safety. Says Mr. OíDonnellís report:

"Though only Cadet-Midshipman Rich went into the water, it has been reported that the saving of the life was due to the cool and concerted actions of both men in quickly sizing up the situation and taking prompt action."

Both young men are the products of the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N. Y.



Brother Marinus

Few stories dealing with Mooremack and its personnel have reached an audience comparable with that which has read or heard about the withdrawal of Captain Leonard P. LaRue, 41-year-old shipmaster, to life in a Benedictine monastery in Newton, N. J., under the name of Brother Marinus, after twenty years at sea, four journeys around the world and innumerable loggings in the many seas.

The story, published first in the Autumn issue of the MOOREMACK NEWS and then distributed by half a dozen press and photograph services, caught the attention of editors of the lay press as well as the religious and of radio commentators also. Scores of clippings have poured in.

Brother Marinusís superiors in St. Paulís Abbey permitted him to speak with news men, with the result that an interesting and altogether friendly series of reports on monastic life has been published.   Too, the operation of a manís mind as he faces an overwhelming personal problem has been plumbed with rich results.

A dramatic feature of this story was, of course, the rescue of 14,000 Koreans from almost certain death by Capt. LaRue as master of the Meredith Victory in December, 1950.  The oncoming Communist troops had vowed to murder all the natives in Hungnam and the ship got them away in time to Pusan.

This was one incident in the captainís life that influenced him to enter the monastery, he told the press.  He also credited Thomas Merronís inspiring book, "Seven Storey Mountain," his reaction to the heroism of missionaries whom he had observed aboard his ships en route to foreign lands, conversations, the workings of his own mind on the meaning of his life.Brother Marinus accepts award from Korean ambassador.  But none of these individually was responsible.

"It is just something that always seemed to be there," he told Bob Mitchell, staff writer of the Newark News.  And to Wilfred Alexander, of the New York Daily Mirror, he told his thoughts in a Japanese hospital where he underwent surgery twice: "Iíve had a chance to evaluate my life and I think the deciding factor was the death of a little boy, two years old, of whom I had grown very fond.Ē

However, the captain had not decided even when he first entered the Abbey on a six-month leave from Moore-McCormack Lines.  He made his decision during his stay.  He has asked his superiors for manual labor, he told Mr. Alexander, and now spends his time raising 900 chickens, serving as a porter, in the kitchen and dining room and at any other tasks that come up in the Abbey.  Meanwhile he has found happiness under the regime of the Benedictine Order whose motto is "Ora et Labora" ó prayer and work.

An aftermath to the above occurred shortly before Christmas.  It developed that President Rhee of Korea, who keeps in close touch with world affairs as a reader of the New York Times and other periodicals, read about Brother Marinus.  He had been trying to find the man who had rescued so many of his people, and now after five years had his answer.

On December 21st, in the Korean embassy on Washingtonís Rhode Island Avenue, in the presence of representatives of government, religion and shipping, His Excellency You Chain Yang, the Korean ambassador, handed a scroll to the Brother and pinned a decoration of his government on his simple black coat.  The television movie cameras rolled and cameras exploded as the Brother in simple words expressed his appreciation.

Recounting the incident the night his ship arrived in Hungnam, Brother Marinus said three haggard U. S. army officers boarded his ship, told their story and asked if he could help.  Quietly, the Brother said:

"It wasnít necessary to answer that question.  It had been answered twenty centuries ago by One Who said, 'Whatsoever you do to the least of these, you do unto me.'"

The decoration, second highest in the Korean government, was the Order of Military Merit Ulchi, with Gold Star.

It was pointed out that in the audience that watched the presentation of the award were three of the Brotherís "bosses" or men who had been.  They included the Rev. Charles Coriston, Abbot of St. Paulís Abbey; Vice Admiral F. C. Denebrink,

Commandant of the Military Sea Transport Service for which Mooremack operated the Meredith Victory; and Emmet J. McCormack, Chairman of the Board of Moore-McCormack Lines. A delegation from the United States Maritime Board also attended.



The Propaganda Line

 Admiral Lee of Mooremack took a crack at propagandists who peddle false tales about the merchant shipping and its relation to foreign trade in a recent article in the Daily Freight Record. (See Editorial Page for additional comment.)

The Admiral said that the so-called 50-50 law, which provides at least one-half of the goods shipped by the U. S. as foreign aid move in American ships, is the latest instrument of misinformation.

The word has been spread among American farmers, he said, that this policy has been the cause of a slow-down in our nationís disposal of agricultural surpluses abroad.  But the facts knock this theory out the window, as he pointed out.

"It is known," the Admiral wrote, "that 67 per cent of the three-year program of our government in this respect was committed in the first twelve months of the 36-month period.  The program was then slowed-down to avoid possibility of an upset of world commodity prices, and for that reason alone.

"Another unfounded statement is that if a recipient nation is obliged to ship half of these agricultural surpluses in American ships the cost will be increased.  Actually, there is no difference in freight rates between American and foreign ships, except tramp ships which carry no more than 10 per cent of the surplus cargoes.  This is because our major lines are members of conferences, and as members help set world freight rates.  The purchasing nation pays no more than the world market rates on ocean transportation regardless of the carrierís flag."

Admiral Lee added that if the United States were as strongly nationalistic as some people would paint us we would protest much more strongly against the way certain cargoes such as cotton, tobacco and machinery, imported by foreign government-controlled monopolies, are diverted to foreign flag ships without U. S. tonnage ever getting a fair chance at them.

Editorial Comment:


One of the more controversial federal laws touching the merchant marine and its interests is the so-called 50-50 Law," which provides that when our government makes available to a foreign nation assistance in the form of agricultural or other goods without cost or on a special financial basis designed to help the recipient obtain them, American ships shall carry at least one-half of the cargoes.

This seems eminently fair.  It is, after all, a declared policy of our government that we shall build and maintain an adequate merchant marine for both commercial and national defense purposes, and one way to do that is to keep our ships active on the seas.  Our government sponsors this assistance program to our friends abroad.  This same government sponsors an American flag merchant fleet for the soundest of reasons.  Why should we not tie in the two programs, helping our friends abroad and our own nationals at the same time?

The propaganda aimed to discredit the "50-50 Law" says that we are being weakened in reaching foreign markets because the cost of shipping these assistance cargoes in American ships is higher than it would be if we used foreign flag ships. it says that American farmers feel that way.  Spokesmen of government and shipping have replied that such statements are untrue.  But what do the farmers think?  The National Grange, at its annual meeting in November, adopted this resolution which should supply the answer:

"The National Grange considers the American merchant marine an indispensable link to foreign markets as well as an important auxiliary to our national defense. Agriculture and our maritime industry have a mutual interest in building and developing expanded foreign export markets for U. S. farm products.  We therefore support the policies previously adopted by our government to place American ships serving essential trade routes on a basis of competitive equality with foreign merchant fleets and to assure U. S. merchant ships a fair and equitable share, which the law now establishes as at least one-half of U. S. financed cargoes."

This is in line with enlightened national thinking as a whole, agricultural and industrial, which has grown in our nation since the last war, reflecting appreciation of the need of a good merchant fleet to a nation that would trade effectively with the rest of the world and at the same time be prepared for national emergencies.

Coincidentally, the National Foreign Trade Convention meeting in New York in November felt the same way, saying:

"The American foreign trader can help to assure the continued availability of adequate American steamship service by giving support and encouragement to our national maritime policy.  The Convention reiterates its support of the national policy to assure a fair and reasonable participation by American-flag ships in the carriage of cargoes owned or financed by the United States Government."



Memorial to A. V. Moore

One of the many interests of the late Albert V. Moore, co-founder and president of Moore-McCormack Lines, was centered in St. Lukeís Episcopal Church, in the Long Island community of Forest Hills, where he resided many years.  Mr. Moore was a vestryman of the church and when he died in January, 1953, it was at this church that the funeral service was held.

On Sunday, Nov. 6th, at a service held at St. Lukeís, a tower and carillon, erected in the memory of Mr. Moore, were dedicated in the presence of many of his friends and associates by the Rt. Rev. James P. DeWolfe, D.D., Episcopal Bishop of Long Island.  The tower was provided by a group of Mr. Mooreís friends, the carillon by Mrs. Moore.

Bell Tower at St. Luke's in Forest Hills

There was nothing of a denominational nature in the planning or participation of the sponsoring group.  Harry C. Von Elm, honorary chairman of the Manufacturers Trust Company, served as its chairman and membership included the following:

Andrew Baxter, President, the Federal Paint Co.; Percy J. Ebbott, Vice Chairman of the Board, the Chase Manhattan Bank. and a director of Moore-McCormack Lines; George W. Rogers, President, George W. Rogers Construction Co.; Eugene F. Moran, Chairman of the Board, Moran Towing & Transportation Co.; Arthur C. Schier, Vice President, General Foods Corp.; Mark Biddison, President, Allied Chemical & Dye Co.; Eugene K. Denton, President, Tailored Woman, Inc.; Theodore W. Hager, Vice Chairman, Peter A. Frasse & Co.; John M. Johnson; Steward Wagner, of Feliheimer & Wagner; and the Rev. Thomas Blomquist, Rector, St. Lukeís Episcopal Church; John J. Edgerton, of E. F. Hutton & Co.

The architect, Steward Wagner, designed the tower in conformity with the thirteenth century Gothic design of the church.  The carillon, which is played from the keyboard of the churchís organ console or from perforated rolls, is of the electronic type and consists of 25 miniature bell tone generators that provide the tonal equivalent of 79,462 pounds of finely tuned cast bells.

Those present at the dedication exercises included Mrs. Albert V. Moore; William T. Moore, son of Albert V. Moore and his successor as President of Moore-McCormack Lines, and Mrs. Moore; Mrs. Charles Mattmann, daughter of Albert V. Moore, and her husband and their children; George L. Holt, Albert F. Chrystal and D. Brendel Geddes, vice-presidents of the company, and their wives; S. L. Barbera, treasurer; Mrs. Gerald F. Swanton, widow of the late secretary of the company; Miss Edna Peters, many years secretary to A. V. Moore; and many others.



Progress on Ships

Contracts were signed by Moore-McCormack Lines and the Federal Maritime Board on Oct. 7th as the first step in effecting the largest shipbuilding program in the peacetime history of this nation.

Mr. McCormack and Chairman Morse sign contracts for new shipbuilding program.

The program, as described in a special four-page insert in the Autumn issue of THE MOOREMACK NEWS, calls for 33 new ships to be built during a twenty-year period, starting with two big passenger liners for the east coast of South America service to replace the liners Brazil and Argentina now operating in that service.

The remaining 31 will be cargo ships which eventually will replace the present Mooremack fleet on the services which this company operates between both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the U.S. and South America, and the Atlantic coast of the U. S. and the Baltic and Scandinavia.

The reaction to this announcement, not only in shipping circles but throughout the business world, was tremendous.  Observers hailed it as evidence of this nationís long-range thinking maritime-wise, evidence of the nationís determination to retain her position on the seas.

William T. Moore, President of the Company, who was in Scandinavia on a surveMr. McCormack discusses company's plans with newspapermen in Bahia.y of the company offices when the contracts were signed, reported on his return to New York that the press abroad had displayed an avid interest in the program. Many of the papers in Scandinavia published photographs of the artistís rendering of the new passenger ships, despite the fact that they are intended for the South American and not the Scandinavia run.

Emmet J. McCormack, Chairman of the Board, who signed the contracts for the Company, sailed Oct. 8th for South America aboard the S. S. Argentina and two months later, returning to New York, reported the same situation. The interest in South America was, naturally, even more avid, because the passenger ships eventually will become part of the commercial life of that area.

Meanwhile, a special department which the company has established to direct the planning of the new ships, under Fred Heess, has been assigned new and larger quarters at the companyís headquarters, 5-11 Broadway, New York, and several new men have been added to the staff. Also, several important contracts involving details of the ships, have been awarded.

The Ingalls Shipbuilding Co., of Pascagoula, Miss., has the contract to build the passenger ships. Other contracts recently awarded include the following: propulsion unit, consisting of the main turbines and reduction gears, to the General Electric Co.; boilers, the Foster-Wheeler Corporation; stabilizers, the Denny-Brown Company; hydraulic hatch covers that open and close at the push of a button, the Greer Marine Corporation.  Dozens of additional contracts of lesser importance have also been signed or are in the process of preparation.

The most recent development in the schedules of the new ships provides for the laying of keels in early July and late August of 1956; launchings in late June and early July of 1957; and deliveries about Feb. 1, 1958 and April 1, 1958. These are subject to change, but the final dates probably will not be far off.

The various components will be ready for installation in the hulls soon after the keels are laid and the work of construction is expected to proceed rapidly from there on.  Meanwhile, dozens of detailed plans are in preparation, under the general supervision of Raymond Loewy, of New York, one of the nationís leading industrial designers and architects.




The CompanyOcean LinersCargo LinersInformationGuest BookE-Mail UsHOME