Following discussions between the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, the Navy -Department, and the Maritime Com-mission, contracts were awarded on January 3rd, 1938 to the Bethlehem Steel Company, Shipbuilding Division; Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.; Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.; and the Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., for the construction of twelve twin-screw high speed Naval Defense featured tankers. The Navy Department had been talking for some time of obtaining a number of oil tankers that could be used with the fleet but had difficulty in obtaining funds for the construction of the desired number. The Standard Oil Company of New Jersey was de-sireous of obtaining additional tank-ers but did not need the high speed desired by the Navy.
The plans for the tankers as prepared by the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey were submitted to the Navy Department, which then submitted plans for what additional features it wanted. Following an agreement on the part of the Maritime Com-mission to assume responsibility for the cost of the higher speed, and other national defense features desired by the Navy Department, bids were invited from the four ship-yards by the Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey, separate figures being asked for the rankers as desired by the company, and for the added features. While all bids were not identical, the contracts for the construction of three vessels at each of the four yards were placed at the same figure, the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey being responsible for $26,993,- 004 of the total cost of the twelve, and the Maritime Commission being responsible under its agreement for $10,563,000.
These tankers are of the single continuous freeboard deck; with poop-bridge, and forecastle erections, twin longitudinal bulk-head type of bulk oil carriers with machinery aft. The cargo space is subdivided into twenty-six cargo tanks, and throughout, the subdivision is such that the tanker would keep afloat with any two adjacent compartments flooded. They are constructed with longitudinal framing, with side-shell and deck seams, and longitudinals riveted, and other structure electrically welded.
The principal characteristics of these tankers are:
Each ship is fitted with two all-steel masts and two Samson posts, the foremast being equipped with two steel hosehand-ling booms, a two-ton capacity boom on the after side and a four-ton capacity boom on the forward side, with provisions for the installation of a forty-ton boom.
They have a rounded plate stem, forming a bulb at the bottom and gracefully curved forward at the top, a deep-cruiser stern, and streamlined bossings.
Two seventeen feet, six inch diameter propellers, each driven by a double reduction geared turbine developing sixty seven hundred and fifty normal shaft horse power per shaft at ninety-six revolutions per minute, give the ship an eighteen knot speed. Each engine consists of one high pressure ahead,. and one low pressure ahead turbine arranged in separate ca-sings, with an astern turbine in the low pressure ahead casing. Steam is supplied by four sectional header water-tube boil-ers, situated above and abaft of the turbines in a separate watertight compartment. They are designed for a working steam pressure at the superheater outlet of four hundred and fifty pounds per square inch, and a total temperature of seven hund-red and fifty degrees Fahrenheit. Each boiler is fired with a Todd Oil Burner. There ate two main condensers
H^Ad one auxiliary condenser.
The machinery equipment also includes two four hundred kilowatt, two hundred and thirty volt, three phase, altenating cur-rent geared turbo-generator sets.
For the rapid handling of cargo oil two pumproons are provided. In the after pumproom there are three main cargo pumps, each with a two thousand gallon per minute capacity, actuated by electrical motors located in the adjacent turbine machinery space, and one steam driven vertical duplex pump of fourteen hundred gallon per minute capacity. The admid-ship pump-room houses two steam-actuated, vertical duplex cargo pumps each with a capacity of 1,400 gallons per minute, and a steam-actuated stripping pump.
Special attention has been paid to firepruof construction and equipment, and the accommodations for the officers, and the crew are ample, and are in keeping with the new standards of comfort. The staterooms are mechanically ventilated, and a private shower and toilet is provided for each pair of crew's staterooms, each of which is intended for not more than two men.
The navigating instruments like all other equipment are of the latest and most effective types, and include gyro compass and gyro pilot installations, fathometers, and ultra-modern wireless installations.
The three tankers built by the Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., at Chester, Pennsylvania were equipped with Westinghouse turbines and reduction gears, and Babcock & Wil-cox boilers; those built at Kearny, New Jersey, by the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., were equipped with General Electric turbines and reduction gears, and Babcock & Wilcox boilers; those built at the Sparrow Point, Maryland shipyard of the Bethlehem Steel Company, are being equipped with Bethlehem turbines, DeLaval reduction gears sirnl Foster Wheeler boilers, while those being built at the Newport News, Virginia shipyard of the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company, are being equipped with Newport News turbines, DeLaval reduction gears, and Foster Wheeler boilers.
The first of this group of tankers to be launched was the "Cimarron," which was sent down the ways by Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company, on January seventh, being christened by Mrs. William D. Leahy, wife of Admiral Leahy, then Chief of Operations, of the United States Navy. Not only was the "Cimarron" the first tanker of the group to be launched, but she was the first vessel in the Maritime Commission's program to be launched, and completed. After completion of her outfitting the "Cimarron" ran her official sea trials over the Naval Trial Course off Rockland, Maine, on January 27th. She attained an ave-rage speed of 19.28 knots during the trial runs, and on the best tuns reached 19.48 knots. She developed 16,900 horse po-wer, 3,500 more than called for in the contract, and 12,900 more than the 4,000 horse power usual for commercial ships of this type. Upon her return to Chester she was taken over by the Maritime Commission and delivered on February 6th to rhe U. S. Navy, at the League Island Navy Yard, at Philadelphia, the Navy having exercised its option of purchasing the tanker.
The second and the third tankers were launched on March 4th, the first the "Markay" being launched at the Federal Ship-building & Dry Dock Company yard at Kearny, New Jersey. Mrs. Howard H. Vickery wife of Commander Vickery, Assistant to the Chairman of the Maritime Commission, christening the vessel. Later the same day the "Seakay" was launched at Chest-er, by the Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company, with Mrs. Charles Kurz, wife of the President of the Keystone Tankship Corporatbn, acting as sponsor. When completed, these two tankers were transferred to the Keystone Tankship Corporation, of Philadelphia, under the provisions of the contracts allowing others to purchase one or more of these ships from the Stan-dard Oil Company of New Jersey.
The fourth tanker launched was the 'Esso New Orleans" which slid down the ways of the Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., on April 1st, being christened by Mrs. M. J. Rathbone, of New Orleans. This was the first of the group actually delivered to the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, the delivery taking place on April l4th.
The fifth of the group was launched at the Kearny by the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company on April 29th and being named the "Neosho" by Mrs. Emory S. Land, wife of Rear Admiral Land, Chairman of the United States Maritime Commis-sion. The "Neosho" was purchased by the U. S. Navy, and was turned over to the Commandant of the 2nd Naval District, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, on August 4th by the U. S. Maritime Commission.
The sixth tanker launched, was the first of the three under construction at the Sparrow Point Shipyard, of the Bethlehem Steel Company, which slid into the water on. July 8th, and was christened the "Platte," by Mrs. Harold R. Stark, wife of Admir-al Stark, Chief of Operations, U. S. Navy. When completed this tanker will be turned over to the U. S. Navy, being the third of the twelve purchased outlight by the Navy Department.
The seventh tanker launched was the second under construction by the Bethlehem Steel Company, at Sparrows Point, Maryland. This tanker, named the "Esso Annapolis,'' by Miss Margaret B. Howard, daughter of B. B. Howard, Assistant Ge-neral Manager of the Marine Department, of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey. Like the other tankers built at Sparrow Point the "Esso Annapolis" is built on the Bethlehem-Frear system of bulkheading, and extensive use of welding.
The eighth tanker, the first of the three under construction at Newport News, was launched by the Newport News Shipbuild-ing & Dry Dock Company, on September 29th, and was named the "Esso Richmond," by Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy, wife of the United States Ambassador to the Court of St. James, and former Chairman of the United States Maritime Commission.
Still to be launched are the "Esso Trenton" under construction by the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., the "Esso Albany" under construction by the Bethlehem Steel Company, and the "Esso Raleigh" and "Esso Columbia" under construc-tion by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.
Printed in : THE MARINE NEWS - October 1939