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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE NAVY NEEDS YOU IN THE WAVES

Name That Ship!

Name That Ship!

Another slide from the past. This ship may be, according to a web history I found, the Argentina, but my recollection from those days was that it was named the Amazon Princess or something similar.

My dad worked on the vessel as an electrician during slack periods in his flying, and he took me up in his float plane to watch it being launched. It was 1958 or so at the Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

I was in the first grade, so my memory is rather hazy regarding details. Dad had built a little ramp/turntable tiedown for his pontoon-fitted Super Cub on the Pascagoula River not far from the F.B. Walker and Sons Dry Dock. I have several photos of all that if anyone is interested in seeing them. View full size.

Yes, More Photos

I would love to see what photos you have from that time frame. I was 23 yrs old when I started work at Ingalls in July 1957 as a helper in the Fab Shop. I remember the Brasil and Argentina very well. That is the Brasil on #1 Way, apparently being launched. Argentina is just south of her.
By 1958 I was a pipe welder working on the Eagle Tankers and the destroyers. After suffering through a couple of layoffs, like all shipyard workers, I eventually became a piping inspector in the nuclear submarine program and then advanced to a test director. That was the most enjoyable time of my working career. Sea trials with Admiral Hyman Rickover, first dives to test depth, working with ships crews to complete the construction, idiot officers and competent enlisted men, freedom to perform what needed to be done to get the job done and many stories to tell - most of which people would tend not believe. Of all the Boats I worked on, Haddock was my favorite. I left Ingalls in 1974 when they ended their participation in the Submarine program and joined the Bechtel Power Corporation. They were a fine company to work for and took me all over the United States and part of the far east working on nuclear power plants. I have many tales to tell that would probably bore the horns off of a Billy Goat.

Twins

These two ships (the white hulled one on the left and the one to its right that is surrounded by scaffolding and has a crane off its starboard quarter) were the last passenger luxury ocean liners ever built in the United States. Parts for their construction were gathered from all of the (then) 48 states.

Bidding $24,444,181 per ship, Ingalls Shipyards—still the largest private employer in Mississippi—had won the contract from Moore-McCormack Lines to build replacements for aging ships of the same names that had been built in 1928. The earlier ships were owned by the United States Federal Maritime Board and operated by Moore-McCormack Lines. As part of a $3,500,000,000 program to rebuild America’s merchant marine fleet, the Federal Maritime Board contributed about $20,000,000 toward the cost of building the two new passenger liners.

They were known by many names during their more than 45-year careers. Perhaps some of us sailed on them without knowing their original names.

On the left is the S.S. Brasil (correct spelling), which was launched on December 16, 1957. Renamed the Universe for scrapping, she was beached at Alang, India in late 2004. From 1996 to 2004, as the Universe Explorer, she had been part of the Semester at Sea program sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh and administered by the Institute for Shipboard Education.

During her career she had been known as: Brasil (1958-72); Volendam (1972-75); Monarch Sun (1975-78); Volendam (again, 1978-84); Island Sun (floating hotel in Quebec, 1984-85); Liberté (1985-87); Canada Star (1987-89); Queen of Bermuda (1989-90);, Enchanted Seas (1990-95); and Universe Explorer (1995-2004). In Hong Kong for extensive refurbishing to return her to cruise ship status, she was instead sold to scrappers in November 2004 and renamed Universe. Later that month the Universe, f/k/a S.S. Brasil sailed for Alang, India, where she was beached at high tide on December 7, 2004.

- - -

The one to her right is her sister ship, the S.S. Argentina, which was launched on March 12, 1958. Renamed New Orleans for scrapping, she was beached at Alang, India in December 2003.

During her career she had been known as: Argentina (1958-72); Veendam (1972-72); Brasil (1974-76); Monarch Star (1976-78); Veendam (again, 1978-84); Bermuda Star (1984-90); Enchanted Isle (1990-94); Hotel Commodore (floating hotel in St. Petersburg, Russia, 1994-95);, Enchanted Isle (again, 1995-2003). On December 30, 2000 the Enchanted Isle docked at Violet, Louisiana after her owner declared bankruptcy.

Between December 30, 2000 and September 5, 2003 the Enchanted Isle was sold a number of times, but never left the dock. On September 6 the last buyer renamed her New Orleans and soon began repairs that would allow her to sail under her own power to the breakers in Alang, India. The New Orleans, f/k/a S.S. Argentina, arrived there on December 4, 2003 and was beached five days later.

Information on the full careers of both the S.S. Brasil and the S.S. Argentina can be found here on the right side of the list under "The Modern Fleet (1958 to 1969)."

Another site with great pictures can be found here. Be sure to follow the "SS Brasil & Argentina to SS Universe Explorer INDEX" links at the bottom of the page.

See more photos?

Jim Page, we are Shorpy-ites, so, of course, we want to see more photos!

Plus, I grew up in Gulfport, so this is close to home.

 
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