Page 36: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (January 2014)

Ship Repair & Conversion Edition

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36 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • JANUARY 2014

Liberty Ship Memorial; and the SS John

W. Brown is berthed in Baltimore, and is maintained by Project Liberty Ship.

Both ships are taken out on the water several times a year on cruises open to the public.

The 18 wartime shipyards immediately shut down; all were sold off to other en- tities, some many times over. The vari- ous government agencies created dur- ing the war to oversee ship construction were also disbanded. The U.S. Maritime

Commission was closed in 1950 and es- sentially re-emerged as the United States

Maritime Administration, which is under the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The ships may be mostly gone, but their legacy lives on. They helped to save Europe twice - fi rst during the war and then through humanitarian deliv- eries and as fodder for rebuilt fl eets in other countries. Many of the shipbuild- ing techniques and design conventions have become standard. The shipyards contributed greatly to one of the coun- tries’ largest demographic shifts, as workers climbed out of the Depression on the backs of wartime jobs. The newly diversifi ed workforce broke barriers for women and minorities, opening the door for the fi rst time to the American labor market. Entire neighborhoods and new schools were built to accommodate shipyard families, and early efforts to provide affordable health care to work- ing families have morphed into today’s

HMOs. History will record that these lowly emergency class vessels lived up to the Liberty name, and then some, well beyond their supporters’ wildest dreams, freeing so many, here and abroad, from the oppression of outdated thinking and terrible tyrants.

Liberty Ships at a Glance • Class of Ship: EC2-S-C1: ‘EC’ for

Emergency Cargo, ‘2’ for a ship between 400 and 450 feet long (Load Waterline

Length), ‘S’ for steam engines, and ‘C1’ for design C1. • Nicknames: Ugly Duckling, Work- horse of the Deep • Design: Based on British-fl agged

Dorrington Court, designed and built by J.L.Thompson & Sons of Sunderland in 1939, and brought to the U.S. by the

British Merchant Shipbuilding Mission in 1940, seeking to get 60 ships built in the U.S. The U.S. Maritime Commission adopted the design but asked naval ar- chitects Gibbs & Cox to make alterations for speed and American shipbuilding practices and sent the standardized plan out to all the shipyards. • First ship launched: S. S. Patrick

Henry (Sept. 27, 1941); the Benjamin

Warner was the last Liberty launched on the West Coast, on July 1, 1944, while the SS Albert M. Boe was the last over- all, launched on Sept. 25, 1945. • Number built: 2751 was the goal; 2710 were built between 1941 and 1945. • Average cost to build: Under $2M/ hull at the start of the war. By war’s end,

Kaiser was producing ships for about $1.75M/hull. Some estimates go as low as $1.5 million plus. • Materials: 3,425 tons of hull steel, 2,725 tons of plate, and 700 tons of shapes, which included 50,000 castings.

The 250,000 parts were pre-fabricated in 250-ton sections and welded together in about 70 days. • Power Plant: an oil-fi red, triple ex- pansion 2,500 hp, 24-ft. high, 140-ton, 3-cylinder reciprocating steam engine capable of speeds of 11 knots. The Hen- dy Ironworks in Sunnyvale, Calif., pro- duced a record breaking number of 754

Liberty Ship engines at the rate of one every 40.8 hours. • Average time to build: the Pat- rick Henry, the fi rst ship, took almost 8

MR’S 75TH ANNIVERSARY 140 Tons of Power

Two-story, 140-ton, vertical triple ex- pansion reciprocating steam engine of the type used to power World War II

Liberty ships. It was designed to oper- ate at 76 rpm and propel a Liberty ship at about 11 knots. Hendy Iron Works, the top supplier of these EC-2 piston engines (one out of every three Liberty ships was powered by a Hendy engine) spit them out at a rate of one every 40.8 hours, or 754 engines in 3.5 years – a world record. (Cr edit: United States Maritime Commission photo.) (Continued on page 39)

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