USAT Sea Marlin

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USAT Sea Marlin

World War II

USAT Sea MarlinSea Marlin served most of the war in the Pacific which included ports-of-call in Australia, Panama, New Guinea, New Zealand, Guam, Saipan, Eniwetok, Leyte Gulf, Tinian plus the Admiralty, Babelthaup, Caroline, Palau, Philippine, New Hebrides, and Mariana Islands. U.S. Pacific ports included Camp Stoneman, Honolulu, San Francisco, San Pedro, Seattle, Portland, and Port Hueneme.
While outbound from the states her passengers were destined for the Pacific war zones on return voyages Sea Marlin served as a hospital ship returning the wounded stateside.

At the Battle of Okinawa the Sea Marlin’s Naval Armed Guard crew received a Battle Star for the service during the invasion. This action included the Japanese Kamikaze attack on the invasion fleet.

Ship Complement

Typical of Army Transports Sea Marlin was crewed by merchant marines, administered by personnel of the US Army Transportation Corps (Water Division) and protected by a contingent of the US Naval Armed Guards.

In September 1944 the ship’s roster included:

Army: Lt Col Garrel D. Snyder (Executive Officer); Capt Richard C. Borella (Adjutant); Capt K. H. Gruberg (Transport Surgeon); 1st Lt Howard C. Day (Transport Chaplain); 1st Lt D. E. Wood (Commissary Sales Off.); T/Sgt Alex Kaplan (Sgt Major); Pfc Jackson Hospers (Asst. Sgt Major); S/Sgt H. H. Stoyke (Mess Sgt); T/Sgt Arthur J. Crandall (Actg. 1st Sgt.)

Merchant Marine: George Ekstrom (Ship’s Captain); Winifred L. Price (Chief Mate); James W. Price Jr. (Purser); Robert F. Spears (Chief Engineer); Jack O. Hayes (Chief Electrician)

Navy: Lt. Comdr Dale V. Walfron, USNR; Lt (jg) H. B. Kakterbeuser, USNR; Lt (jg) Herbert J. Edwards, USNR; GM1c Walter G. Jones USNR. Other Armed Guards known to have served aboard Sea Marlin: Richard rancs Maxon; Warren G. Riddings; Amorris D. Abel; Jack Martin.

Captain George Ekstrom went to sea at age 13 in 1898 as a cook. He later became an ordinary seaman, an able seaman, and he worked in various capacities going up the ladder in the hard school until he became master of his own ship. Until World War I Captain Ekstrom put to sea only in sailing ships. Captain Ekstrom was an amateur painter with an interest in nautical themes.

Ship Passengers

Units transported include:

17th Naval Construction Battalion & 31st Special Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees)

96th Infantry Division Headquarters personnel

Fuerza Area Expedicionaria Mexicana (Mexican Air Force) Escuadrn 201

193rd Tank Battalion

US Army Air Force Sixth Bombardment Group

Post War Service

On May 2, 1946 Sea Marlin was transferred to the U.S. Maritime Commission and laid up as part of the Reserve Fleet at Lee Hall, VA in the James River. In 1947 Isthmian Steamship Company purchased Sea Marlin and changed its name to SS Steel Director. The contract to convert Sea Marlin from a troopship to freighter was awarded to the J.K Welding Company, Yonkers, NY for a cost of 0,000. Isthmian Steamship Company was sold to States Marine Lines on March 6,1956. Steel Director remained in service until it was sold for scrap to Taiwan Shipbreakers, Kaohsiung, Republic of China in 1971.

The following is a history of damage, salvage, repair, and refitting to Steel Director During the period of October to December 1950 heavy weather damaged the rudder, boats and fitting. These repairs were made in Houston TX. 7/11/50: On voyage Galveston, TX to Haifa, Israel hit pier at Gulfport, MS with damage to propeller blades and shaft. 10-12/50: Heavy weather damage to rudder, boats and fittings; repaired at Houston, TX. 4/20 – 4/21/51: Heavy weather destroyed accommodation ladder on voyage Calcutta, India to Boston, MA. 8/2 – 8/3/51: Heavy weather damaged lifeboats. Repair #2 lifeboat davit arm, 7 hatch tarps and 4 lifeboat covers; repairs at Baltimore MD. 8/20/52: On voyage Houston, TX to Calcutta, India hit Congress Street Wharf, New Orleans, LA, damaging 6 pilings. 2/1/55: Hit submerged object damaging propeller. 7/12/55: Dry-docked in New York, NY for initial repairs with further work completed in Galveston, TX in October 1955. 8/9/57: While on voyage from Baltimore and Saigon, South Vietnam to Bangkok, Thailand struck a submerged obstruction. Again on 12/1/57 during voyage from Baltimore MD and Philippines to Surabaya, Indonesia and Singapore, propeller struck submerged object. All repairs done in Galveston, TX in March 1958. 5/18/58: Struck submerged object on passage from Mobile, AL to New Orleans, LA. Repairs completed in Baltimore, MD in April 1959. 12/24/59: At Chittagong, India collided with steamer Pyidawnyunt, with little or no damage and arrived in Calcutta, India on 12/27/59. 10/27/60: Grounded in the Houston Ship Channel while en route to Galveston, TX. Repairs deferred until August 1961. 1/25/61: Suffered rudder damage from grounding in Suez Canal on voyage from Calcutta, India to Houston, TX. Towed to Port Said, Egypt by tug where temporary repairs were done. Towed by salvage ship Svitzer to Palermo, Italy where permanent repairs were made. 7/14/61: Struck the lock wall of Cote Ste. Catherine Lock while transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway en route from Montreal, QB to Kenosha, WS in ballast. Struck lock wall of Lower and Upper Beauharnois Locks while transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway. Arrived Baltimore, MD 9/6/61 from New York, NY for deferred repairs to bottom plates damage sustained 10/27/60 plus damage sustained in St Lawrence Seaway. 9/10/63: generator turbine damaged in consequence of alleged engineer’s negligence while the vessel was on passage from Madras, India to Calcutta, India. Partial repairs made in New York in December 1963. 6/7/68: Struck submerged object in Mississippi River while en route from Baton Rouge, LA to Houston, TX and Calcutta, India. Repairs completed in New York, NY July 2, 1968. 3/5 – 8/69: Damaged in heavy weather while en route from Porto Grande, Cape Verde Islands. to New York, NY and New Orleans, LA. Partial repair completed August 5, 1069 in New York, NY. 1/7/70: Grounded with no reported damage. 6/23/70: Collided with barge in Yokohama, Japan on voyage from Saigon, South Vietnam for Seattle, WA. Damage to propeller repaired at Todd Shipyards in Seattle, WA in August.. 9/9/70: Arrived Sattahip, Thailand from Tacoma, WA with refrigeration failure following repairs proceeded to Qui Nhon, South Vietnam. 5/17/71 Final voyage of SS Sea Marlin/Steel Director from Saigon, South Vietnam arrived at Kaohsiung, Republic of China prior to 6/10/71 where she was scrapped.

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