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Esso Havana - (1950-1961)
Esso Havana Christened
Esso Havana Christened

Launch ceremony of the Esso Havana.

Mrs. Hines H. Baker of Houston, Texas, wife of the president of Humble Oil Company, christened the tanker, Esso Havana, in Number Ten Building‘ Dock at 11:46 A. M. on December 16, 1949. Mrs. Baker is prohably the only sponsor on record who has had an opportunity to christen the same ship three times. The bottle containing the champagne seemed to be the same hardness as the steel in the hull of the Esso Havana. Mrs. Baker was obliged to hurl the bottle at the hull three times before shattering it on the vessel’s how.
The christening ceremony varied somewhat from that followed on the other tankers in Building Docks Ten and Eleven.

Mrs. Hines H. Baker is shown christening the ESSO HAVANA in Number 10 Building Dock on December 16, 1949.

Heretofore the signal for removal of the vessel was not given until the vessel had been christened.
In the case of the Esso Havana the vessel was already in motion from the dock before Mrs. Hines H. Baker smashed the bottle. The Essa Havana, Hull No. 483, is the eighth often tankers to be built by our Company for the Standard Oil Company (New jersey). Among the spectators who braved the north sea breeze were 142 boy scouts of the Robert E, Lee Virginia Council of Richmond. This group came by bus and train to attend their first launching and make their first visit the peninsula. Included in the sponsor's party were officials and directors of the Humble Oil Company (New Jersey), including Eugene Holman, president of that company.
A Partial list of the guests attending the launching and the luncheon that followed at the St. James River Country Club is: Mr. and Mrs. Hines H. Baker, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. George F. Howard, Dr. and Mrs. Harry G. Burks, Mr. and Mrs. David B. Harris, Mr. and Mrs. Rex G. Baker, Mr. and Mrs. H. W. Ferguson, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Illig, Mr. and Mrs. Murray G. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. B. B. Howard, Chester F. Smith, M. G. Gamble, Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Stewart, Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Colgan, W. Z. Garner, A. Warner Melvin, Ralph Mason, and Mr. and Mrs. S. Shackme.

In the foreground are shown the following members of the launching party for the ESSO HAVANA.
Left to right; Hines H. Baker, Jr., president of Humble Oil Company; Eugne Holman, president of the Standard Oil Company (New Jersey); Mrs. Hines H. Baksr, sponsor; M. G. Gamble, president of Esso Shipping Company; Mrs. Rex G. Baker; B. B. Howard, director of Standard Oil Company (New Jersey); Mrs. L. T. Barrow; and Rex G. Baker.
The operations for removal of the ship from the dock after the christening have just gotten under way.

Source : Newport News Ship Yard Bulletin Vol XIII, November/December 1949, No. 7. ( Thanks to S. Dale Hargrave )