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Esso Portland (2)
SS Esso Portland (2)
One of eight sisterships, the Esso Portland was delivered to the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey on March 14, 1944. Although the vessel's wartime service was relatively short, she transported more than a million barrels of oil to Atlantic and Pacific battlefronts, and in the Pacific most of her cargoes were discharged in direct fueling operations. She made four transatlantic and tour Pacific voyages in 1944; in 1945, one voyage to New York and two to the Pacific before V-J Day, September 2, arriving at Gibraltar from Manila on September 4.
The Esso Portland left Chester, Penna., on March 19, 1944, in command of Captain John L. Johnson, with Chief Engineer Daniel C. Dunn in charge of her engineroom. Proceeding to Curacao, she lifted 117,879 barrels of vaporizing oil for the United Kingdom and then called at New York to load a deck cargo of ten P-47 (Thunderbolt) and six P-51 (Mustang) fighter planes. Part of her oil cargo was discharged at Avonmouth and the remainder at Liverpool, where she unloaded the planes.
On her next voyage, the new tanker transported 119,607 barrels of kerosene and gasoline from New York to Swansea. There followed another Atlantic crossing, with 131,648 barrels of aviation and motor gasolines, from Aruba to Algiers. The Esso Portland's fourth and last cargo to cross the Atlantic was 130,766 barrels of aviation gasoline, loaded at New York and discharged at Taranto, Italy, whence she returned to Aruba.
On September 6 the Esso Portland left the Caribbean on the first of a series of six voyages, of which five were in the Pacific and one to New York. She took three cargoes of Navy Diesel oil to Pearl Harbor; one to Lingayen, Luzon; and the fifth to Seeadler, Manus Island.

Fuel for Ships of War
It was on these voyages that her cargoes were discharged mainly into Navy and Army vessels. Among them were the Navy oilers USS Nantahala (AO 60), USS Sepulga (AO 20), USS Chepachet (AO 78), USS Winooski (AO 38), and the USS Silver Cloud (AO 143); the submarines USS Blenny (SS 324), USS Flasher (SS 249), and USS Hawkbill (SS 366); the submarine tender USS Griffin (AS 13); the salvage ship USS Cable (ARS 19); twelve minesweepers; three submarine chasers; a patrol craft escort rescue vessel (PCER 848); an LCT; four LCIs; an LSM; six LSTs; and a U. S. Army barge.

The cargo carrying record of the Esso Portland, from March 14, 1944 until September 2, 1945, was in summary as follows:


One of the LSTs bunkered by the Esso Portland was mentioned in an article in the Esso Marketer for September, 1945, en-titled "30,000 Miles in an LST":
"Seaman First Class John A. Welsh has become well qualified to write his own Baedeker since leaving the Oceanside, N.Y., Bulk Plant where he was employed as a motor tank salesman.
"During his ten month overseas hitch on an LST (Landing Ship, Tanks), he participated in five D-Day invasions Luzon, Panay, Negros, Tarakan, and, Brunei Bay.

At Tarakan
"He describes Tarakan as being the most exciting, saying, 'Our ships and British ships bombarded the island which, as you know, is a great oil producing island. The fires were really something to look at. There I was, watching all that oil go up in smoke while the folks at home were trying to keep warm. 'With a true sense of Company loyalty, he added ingenuously, 'Naturally, we were using Esso fuel. I am not kidding about this, as we had fueled up from the Esso Portland.'

The SS Esso Portland was built in 1944 by the Sun Shipbuilding, & Dry Dock Company, at Chester, Penna. Her sisterships are the Esso Camden, Esso Memphis, Esso New Haven, Esso Roanoke, Esso Scranton, Esso Springfield, and Esso Utica.
A single-screw vessel of 16,635 deadweight tons capacity on international summer draft of 30 feet, 2 inches, the Esso Portland has,an overall length of 523 feet, 6 inches, a length between perpendiculars of 503 feet, a moulded breadth of 68 feet, and a depth moulded of 39 feet, 3 inches. With a cargo carrying capacity of 138,335 barrels, she has an assigned pumping rate of 7,000 barrels an hour.
Her turbo-electric engine, supplied with steam bytwo water-tube boilers, develops 7,240 shaft horsepower and gives her a classification certified speed of 14.6 knots.
In the war years the Esso Portland was in command of Captains John L. Johnson and Roland Whittom.
During the same time her engine department was in charge of Chief Engineers Daniel C. Dunn and Alvah B. Strout.