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Mobil Tankers
Java Arrow - (1921-1943)
 
S.S. Java Arrow (American tanker, 1921)
Photographed on 22 April 1942 by the U.S. Coast Guard departing an American port.
This ship became USS Celtic (IX-137) in 1944.
( U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph )
 
S.S. Java Arrow (American tanker, 1921)
Steaming on 4 May 1942 in a convoy off Savannah, Georgia.
( U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph )
 
S.S. Java Arrow (American tanker, 1921)
Photographed on 14 July 1942 by an aircraft from the U.S. Naval Air Station, Lakehurst, New Jersey.
( U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph )
 
S.S. Java Arrow (American tanker, 1921).
 Java Arrow, torpedoed in position 80.13 W, 27.38 N, did not sink and was towed to Port Everglades, for repair.

Java Arrow-1921

LOA 485'2" Beam 62'6" Depth 39'6", 13,325DWT 99,742 bbls

Quadruple expansion engine 51" stroke 3200lHP 10.6 knots Launched 30 April and commissioned 24 May 1921
at Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Quincy, Massachusetts. Her first voyage was to India via Suez,
with backhaul from Balikpapan, Kalimantan, to Europe. There were many variations of  this two-way trade,
involving the entire Far East, until 1931, when JAVA ARROW settled down to domestic trade with only a few
subsequent offshore voyages.
In February 1926, JAVA ARROW distinguished herself by rescuing 13 crew members of DAISHIN MARU.
They were adrift in the North Pacific, having abandoned their sinking ship.
In April 1942, following the US entry into WWII, JAVA ARROW was I'equisitioned by WSA. On 5 May 1942, while
on her first war voyage, she Was torpedoed and badly damaged, but not sunk, eight miles off the Florida coast
near Fort Pierce. She was towed into Port Everglades, where, in June 1942, full title and ownership were
assumed by WSA.
Under government ownership she was towed to Norfolk, Virginia, for permanent repairs. Under the new name
of KERRY PATCH later changed to CELTIC she served and survived the remainder of the war.

 Joan Smith wrote to me:
Mr. Visser:
Our family was quite interested to find information about the Java Arrow.
My father-in-law was a radio operator on the Java Arrow in 1926, and participated in the rescue of the Japanese crew from their adrift ship.  I thought you might be interested in his report of that event, because it differs from yours:
"(Photo) Japanese family of a member of the crew of a Japanese cargo ship. This ship carried coal to Yokohama from northern island Mororan. She was going north from Yokohama empty. A storm off the strait of Hakodata exhausted her coal fuel supply. She drifted south for about six weeks. Food ran out and only thing left to eat was the rats the cat caught. Water ran out about a week before we found her. About two or three weeks after the storm, two life boats put out with a total of 14 or 15 people. They were never heard from.
"We were bound from Singapore to the States on a southern route when we found ship adrift in afternoon of a nice day. 17 people aboard were too weak to help themselves and were removed from ship to lifeboat with heaving lines about their shoulders. We got them aboard same way. Ship was left as a derelict and Japanese government notified. We saw her in Yokohama when we took these people back to Japan after bringing them to San Francisco.
"We visited the homes of many of the 17 survivors. This picture is at the home of the person next to me. (George Olson was 2nd mate)
"On return to Japan, hearings had commenced on the course of events. Apparently the Chief Engineer [of the Japanese vessel] had 40 tons of coal "in his pocket" implying something bad, or illegal. Coal on board would have been sufficient for the trip, if weather stayed good. Supplies also. "
Attached is the photo referred to; my father-in-law, Ernest Smith, is second from right in the front row.
Historical Photo - Ern with Japanese family.
( Thanks to Joan & Al Smith, Salem, Oregon, USA. )

I found also a newspaper article of the same event. ( AAV )

The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 22 February 1926

STEAMER'S CREW. SOME RESCUED STARVING, OTHERS BELIEVED LOST.

TOKYO, Feb. 19, 1926.
The United States Steamer Java Arrow, en route from Yokohama to San Francisco, reports having encountered the Japanese freighter Taishin Maru 850 miles north-east of Yokohama. The Taishin Maru had been drifting helplessly for a month, after a storm.
Thirteen sailors were rescued from the vessel in a starving condition.
Nineteen of the crew who left by lifeboats on February 8 and 9 are believed to be lost.
The Taishin Maru is a 2000 tons steamer, and was on a voyage from Yokohama to Hokkaido. Reuter.
The message said that,the men aboard had nothing to eat for 20 days, and no water for fife. Then they caught rats and made soup, and finally ate their cat.

Another newspaper article of the same event. ( AAV )

The Advocate, North-Western Tasmanian only Daily Newspaper, Monday 22 February 1926.

STARVING SAILORS, Mid-Pacific Rescue. 19 BELIEVED TO BE LOST.
(Reuter).
TOKIO, Saturday. The American steamer Java Arrow, from Yokohama, bound for San Francisco, wirelessed yesterday that she had picked up the Japanese freighter Taishin Maru 850 miles north-east of Yokohama. The vessel had been drifting helpless for a month after a storm. Thirteen sailors were rescued. They were starving. They reported that 19 other members of the crew essayed the lifeboats on February 8 and it was believed they were lost.
The Taishin Mani was a vessel of 2000 tons, and was bound from Yokohama to Hokkaido.

Remark : There is spoken of the "Taishin Maru", but in fact the correct name was "Daishin Maru No. 3", see below :

17 January 1926.
Daishin Maru No.3 ( Japan):
The cargo ship departed from Yokohama for Muroran, Hokkaido. Although presumed foundered off Yamata, Iwatw with the loss
of all hands,she was discovered on 18 February drifting at 33°44'N 155°26'E by Java Arrow ( United Kingdom) and her
fourteen crew were taken off.
(   "Casualty reports" The Times (London). Wednesday, 27 January 1926. Issue 44180, col F, p. 5.
 "Casualty reports" The Times (London). Tuesday, 2 February 1926. Issue 44185, col G, p. 22.  )

Additional Information :

JAVA ARROW - 1921 USA  1Q (aft)     (11)
8,327 Grt for Standard Transportation Co., Inc., New York      468.3 x 62.7
Tanker build by Bethlehem SB. Corp., Quincy, Mass.  (5)     #1388   221272
1931 - Standard-Vacuum Transportation Co., Inc., New York
1935 - Socony-Vacuum Oil Co., Inc., New York
Torpedoed by U 333, 5 May 1942, in 27.35N-80.08W ( 8 miles off Vero Beach, Fla. ), voyage New York - Curaçao, in ballast,
heavily damaged, but towed to port  CTL
1943 - KERRY PATCH, U.S. War Shipping Administration, New York, re-engined  1M (aft) (salved from Br. m/t KARS - 1939)
1/1944 - CELTIC, U. S. Navy  (IX-137)   station tanker
12/1946 - KERRY PATCH, U. S. War Shipping Administration, New York
1948 - RADKETCH, Radocean Tanker Corp., Wilmington, Del.
1949 - GALE   Soc. Armadora Valenciana, S.A., Panama  [Radmar Trading Corp., New York], PA
1952 - Commander Trading Corp., Panama   (New York)
1955 - SUGAR, Marine Charters, Inc., Panama  [Radmar Trading Corp., New York ]
Broken up at La Spezia, March 1959, by Cant. Nav. del Golfo S.p.A.
 (sold 1/1959 while laid up there)

Mobile Floating Storage Tanker:
Built in 1921 as Java Arrow at Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy, MA.
Acquired by the US Navy, 17 January 1944, at Noumea, New Caledonia
Commissioned, USS Celtic (IX-137), 17 January 1944, with a Coast Guard crew
Decommissioned, 6 February 1946, at Mobile AL.
Final Disposition, returned to the WSA, for disposal, 24 December 1946, fate see above.

Specifications:
Displacement 20,000 t.(fl)
Length485'
Beam 62' 6"
Draft 31' 6"
Speed 10 kts.
Complement 114
Armament one 4" gun mount, 1 3" gun mount, eight 20mm guns
Propulsion system unknown, single propeller

View the Celtic (IX-137)
DANFS history entry located at the Haze Gray and Underway web site.