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S.S. Steel Maker

Gross Tonnage:7,999Net:4,695
Dimensions:492' 0" x 69' 7" x 29' 5"MC Type:C3-S-A2
Builder:Western Pipe & Steel Co.
San Francisco, CA
Hull #
USMC Hull #
Date of Build:
Engines:2 Steam Turbines DR Geared to Single Screwed ShaftEngine Builder:General Electric Co.
Lynn, MA
Navigation:DF, ESD, GC, RDR, RTDecks, etc.:2 Decks & Open Shelter Deck

Began Isthmian Service:1947Ended Isthmian Service:1973

----------------------------------- Vessel History -----------------------------------
Call Ltrs
Sea FinchUS War Shipping Administration
San FranciscoUSWB
Sea SharkUS War Shipping Administration
San FranciscoUSWB
Sea SharkUS Maritime Commission
San FranciscoUS
Steel MakerIsthmian Lines, Inc.
New York
New YorkUS

6/3/44: Keel laid as SEA FINCH.
10/5/44: Launched, sponsored by Mrs. K.U. Plummer; name changed to SEA SHARK during construction.
2/17/45: Delivered to War Shipping Administration for operation by Weyerhauser Steamship Co.
1946: U.S. Maritime Commission.
1/47: Hit dock causing plate and frame damage; repair cost $ 8,966.
6/47: Lighter collision; fit spare propeller and renew shaft at a cost of $7,815.
1/48: While raising steam, boilers damaged. Renew 8 economiser elements and headers and reroll tubes at a cost of $12,500.
4/24/48: On voyage Khorramshahr to New York, arrived Ponta Delgada with leaking stern gland.
9/12/48: On voyage Saigon to Montreal, aground 1 mile SW of Cuttyhunk Light with doublebottom tanks split open.
10/2/48: Left New York for permanent repairs at Baltimore where 53 bottom plates, bilge keels, 7 tanktop plates and hold ceilings were renewed, the shaft drawn, engine and auxiliaries checked at a cost of $145,000. Later the shaft, bushings, 7 high pressure turbine diaphragms and packing was renewed and the main engine gear casing relined; repair cost $17,500.
3/1/51: Strikes dock. Renew 3 plates, partially renew frames, stringers, beams, deck plating and brackets; repairs at Baltimore.
3/21/51: Hit submerged object; repair propeller and check shaft at Baltimore.
7/25/52: Heavy weather.
2/26/53: As a result of heavy weather 7/25/52, renew rope guards, together with sundry damages and removals; repairs and dry docking at Baltimore.
3/29/53: Hit submerged object.
7/2/53: From striking submerged object 3/29/53, fair 4 bottom plates, partially renew the bilge keel, steam, clean and test tanks together with sundry damages; repairs and drydocking at Baltimore.
11/53: Boiler flareback damages boiler.
4/23/54: Collision with workboat.
4/27/54: From boiler backfire 11/53, renew boiler front and rear casing, renew brickwork, together with removals and sundry damages; repairs at Baltimore.
11/10/54: From collision with workboat 4/23/54, fair propeller, renew cone together with steering studs, repairs and drydocking at New York.
12/9/55: Collided with tug MARY MORAN.
7/16/56: From collision with tug MARY MORAN 12/9/55, 1 shell plate partially renew and 2 fair, frames straighten and partially renew, together with sundry damages; repairs at Galveston.
7/30/56: On voyage Galveston for Calcutta, collided with M.V. SUAKIN in Jeddah. Damage to STEEL MAKER slight.
7/31/56: STEEL MAKER has small hole in bow plate; fitted with cement box and seaworthy certificate granted. SUAKIN has gunwale plate set in, six gunwale stays buckled and sheerstrake set in; granted seaworthy certificate and is to repair at owner's convenience.
5/30/63: From Chittagong, STEEL MAKER, Houston for Calcutta, no apparent damage from cyclone and resulting tidal wave in East Pakistan that killed over 10,000.
12/8/63: At New York, steamer STEEL MAKER, New Orleans for Calcutta, in port at Erie Basin, fire in decking of Nos. 1 and 2 holds, under control.
12/11/63: From New York, STEEL MAKER left for Beirut.
5/15/64: Arrived Bombay.
5/22/64: From Bombay: Steamer STEEL MAKER, Houston for Calcutta, berthed at No. 4 Alexandra Dock boycotted by labour of Transport and Dock Workers Union due to alleged failure of vessel to provide proper amenities to labour. Boycott expanded to all categories of dock employees, including stevedore, shore chipping and painting, tally clerks and supervisory staff. Boycott due to alleged unfair behavior of master and crew to stevedore labour while in stream.
8/7/64: Philadelphia reports steamer STEEL MAKER, Calcutta for Houston, with a 3,000 ton cargo of burlap, jute and hemp, inbound, and tank steamer TEXACO WISCONSIN, light, outbound, collided in fog AM August 7th in vicinity of Eagle Point, Delaware River, off the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Bow of TEXACO WISCONSIN collided with starboard side of STEEL MAKER in way of No. 3 hold, with resultant flooding of hold and No. 3 starboard double bottom tank. A 15 ft. gash from the waterline to the main deck could be seen in the starboard side of the STEEL MAKER and the vessel began to list. The tanker was reported to have only sustained minor damage. There were no reports of casualties. A U.S. Navy spokesman said the steamer was aground and the tanker was anchored. The STEEL MAKER was pushed to shore by a Navy tug to prevent her from sinking in the main ship channel. Vessel beached bow to bank with tugs standing by as a precautionary measure. TEXACO WISCONSIN was moved to the Marine Division docks of Texaco, Inc. at National Park, NJ; her bow was ripped by a 30 ft. gash from the point below the anchor port. There were no casualties.
8/9/64: STEEL MAKER floated at 1 PM with the assistance of tugs and now at Sun Shipyard & Drydock Co., Chester, PA., after analysis new trim and draughts, in damaged condition and where drydocked late today. Vessel penetrated 10 ft. to 15 ft. in way of main and two 'tween decks and, view severity of damage, permanent repairs will be effected at Chester after removal of cargo in way of repairs. Tank Steamer TEXACO WISCONSIN passed out Delaware Capes at 4:25 AM for Galveston for repairs.
8/10/64: Part of the damaged cargo ex No. 3 hatch removed by barge to Pier 96, South Wharves, Philadelphia; the rest will be discharged at Sun Shipyard, Chester, PA. After temporary repairs, the STEEL MAKER is scheduled to sail for Baltimore for permanent repairs with sound Philadelphia cargo still on board. General Average declared.
8/12/64: STEEL MAKER surveyed: Six starboard side shell plates renew, four main deck plates renew, five upper 'tween deck plates renew, three lower 'tween deck plates renew, one top tank plate renew, together with internals fair and partially renew, together with internals fair and partially renew, necessary tank-cleaning and testing, partial cargo remove for access and drydocking. In addition, refloating damage one bottom plate crop, and partially renew; this damage repair deferred. It appears very little cargo intended for Philadelphia sustained damage as most of the damaged cargo was intended for Baltimore, Norfolk or New Orleans.
1/10/66: The Spanish freighter MV MONTE PALOMARES sank in the North Atlantic, approximately 840 miles east northeast of Bermuda, with 38 aboard. STEEL MAKER, under command of Capt. Uve V. Hultin, steams toward last known position and rescues 4 survivors from a raft in heavy seas. USCGC ESCANABA later rescues 2 more.
5/23/69: Struck dock while leaving Bandar Shahpour on loaded passage for India.
7/11/69: From Cape Town: American steamer STEEL MAKER, Calcutta for Houston, has leak in hold, reported five ft. of water. Vessel due 7/12/69. STEEL MAKER arrived Cape Town 7/11/69.
9/5/69: From New York: Steamer STEEL MAKER, damage alleged sustained 5/23/69 in consequence of striking dock while leaving Bandar Shahpour: Port side shell plating two plates renew and one partially renew, internals in way partially renew, together with sundry damages and removals; permanent repairs completed.
3/21/71: Alleged sustained damage in consequence of striking submerged object off the River Mississippi while on passage from Savannah to New Orleans.
6/7/71: At Houston, repairs completed from damage sustained 3/21/71 from striking submerged object.
3/16/72: Contact with dock at Calcutta.
3/27/72: While on ballast passage from Calcutta to Saigon, stranded but refloated with the assistance of tugs and returned to Calcutta where repairs were to be effected. Report there was no apparent damage due to grounding, stated caused by steering trouble and only rudder damage, which since examined by classification Surveyor.
4/1/72: Vessel sailed for Singapore with temporary repairs carried out; due at Singapore 4/6.
4/7/72: Arrived Singapore Roads.
5/6/72: Left Singapore Roads for Saigon.
5/14/72: Strikes pier while berthing at Vung Tao, Vietnam.
5/20/72: From Singapore, Surveyor advises to following casualties:
A) Contact damage, date and place unknown, causing buckling of starboard shell plates G8, G9 and H10.
B) Contact with dock at Calcutta 3/16/72 causing buckling of stem bar and adjacent bow plating.
C) Contact with barge at Vung Tao, 5/14/72, causing buckling of port side shell plates G7 and G8.
D) Rudder damage, cause unknown, rudder extensively buckled with main frame casing fractured and gudgeons misaligned.
7/19/72: Surveyed at drydock at Hoboken, NJ in respect to damage sustained 5/14/72, Saigon for New York, in consequence of striking pier while berthing at Vung Tao, Vietnam; repairs completed.
11/25/72: Outbound from Houston, New York for Saigon, contacted MV TORTUGAS, New Orleans for Port Sudan. STEEL MAKER docked in evening; damage to both vessels reported minor.
12/6/72: Surveyed afloat at Newport News for damage alleged sustained 11/25/72 while leaving Houston when control of vessel was lost, causing her to strike the dock and collide with MV TORTUGAS. Repairs deferred.

Disposition DateComments
1973Arrived at Kaohsiung prior to 8/24/73, having left Calcutta 7/26/73. Sold to Tai Kien Industry Co., Ltd. Scrapped 8/73 Kaohsiung. Reported 3/74: Sold to the Republic of China (Taiwan) for Scrapping.

Photo courtesy of Jack Williams 2005 - All rights reserved.

Bombay, India

The information on this web site is the kind contribution of our Historian, Skip Lewis, 2003. Skip, whose dad sailed for Isthmian, is an avid collector and researcher of everything Isthmian and States Marine. In his quest, he has used many sources and publications including Lloyd's of London and Imperial Steel by John Atherton.

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