SS Baton Rouge Victory

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Typical Victory Ship.
United States
Name: SS Baton Rouge
Namesake: City of Baton Rouge
Owner: War Shipping Administration
Operator: American Export Line and Ishmian SS Corporation
Builder: Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard, Baltimore
Laid down: 21 June 1945
Launched: 22 August 1945
Completed: 24 Sept. 1945
Fate: Scrapped at Hualien, Formosa in 1967, after hitting a mine.
General characteristics
Class and type: VC2-S-AP3 Victory ship
Tonnage: 7612 GRT, 4,553 NRT
Displacement: 15,200 tons
Length: 455 ft (139 m)
Beam: 62 ft (19 m)
Draught: 28 ft (8.5 m)
Installed power: 8,500 shp (6,300 kW)
Propulsion: HP & LP turbines geared to a single 20.5-foot (6.2 m) propeller
Speed: 16.5 knots
Boats & landing
craft carried:
4 Lifeboats
Complement: 62 Merchant Marine and 28 US Naval Armed Guards
Notes: [1]

The SS Baton Rouge was a cargo Victory ship built during World War II under the Emergency Shipbuilding program. The Baton Rouge (MCV-846) was a type VC2-S-AP2 Victory ship built by Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards. The Maritime Administration cargo ship was the 846rd ship built. Her keel was laid on June 21, 1945. She was launched on August 22, 1945 and completed on September 24, 1945. The 10,600-ton ship was constructed for the Maritime Commission. The American Export Line and later the Isthmian Steamship Company operated her under the United States Merchant Marine act for the War Shipping Administration.[2]

Victory ships were designed to supersede the earlier Liberty Ships. Unlike Liberty ships, Victory ships were designed to serve the US Navy after the war[3] and also last longer. The Victory ship differed from a Liberty ship in that they were: faster, longer and wider, taller, and had a thinner stack set farther toward the superstructure. They also had a long raised forecastle.

World War II[edit]

Completed on September 24, 1945, the Baton Rouge did not operate during World War operations, as the surrender of Imperial Japan was announced on August 15, 1945. Baton Rouge worked delivering cargo that was not delivering to the East Coast of the United States and West Coast of the United States due to the shortage of ships during the war. In March 1, 1946 she docked at Newport, Rhode Island with 1,000,000 feet of Douglas fir and western hemlock lumber from Canada. Due to World War II there had been a shortage of lumber from Canada.[4] On 29 November 1946 the SS Baton Rouge Victory collided in thick fog with the freighter SS Sea Centaur at harbor near the San Pedro Breakwater, near the entrance to Los Angeles Harbor at night. Visibility was down to 150 feet that night. The Sea Centaur was owned by the Matson Navigation Company, she was inbound from San Francisco. The Sea Centaur had damage to her bow above the water line from the ramming of the Isthmian Steamship Company's Baton Rouge Victory. Baton Rouge Victory had just steamed in from the Golden Gate. The Baton Rouge Victory captain, J. A. Keerson, reported on the damage to the deck and flying bridge. [5] After World War II, in 1947, she was laid up James River in the National Defense Reserve Fleet.

Korean War[edit]

In 1950 she was reactivated for the Korean War. She made eight trips to Korean between 6 March 1951 and 28 March 1952. [6]She helped American forces engaged against Communist aggression in South Korea.[7] About 75 percent of the personnel taken to Korea for the Korean War came by the merchant marine ships. SS Baton Rouge transported goods, mail, food and other supplies. About 90% of the cargo was moved by merchant marine ships to the war zone.[8][9] After the Korean War she was laid up in 1952 at Suisun Bay reserve fleet.[10] [11]

Vietnam War[edit]

In 1966 she was reactivated for Vietnam War and operated by the SS United States. [12] On August 26, Baton Rouge Victory was attacked by two 2,400-pound limpet mines while it was proceeding along the Lòng Tàu River, about 22 miles (35 km) southeast of Saigon.[13] The explosions killed seven American civilian sailors on board and tore a 16-by-45-foot (4.9 by 13.7 m) hole in the ship's hull, forcing the captain to run the ship aground to avoid sinking and blocking the shipping channel. The number 3 cargo hold flooded quickly. The SS Baton Rouge Victory had departed the San Francisco Embarcadero on 28 July 1966 with a crew of 45, loaded with military trucks and tractors, automobiles, mail, and general cargo.[14][15][16][17] She was refloated on 30 August 1966 and towed to Vũng Tàu. [18]In 1967 she was scrapped at Hualien, Formosa, now called Taiwan.[19]

Memorial and honors[edit]

The seven American civilian merchant Seamen killed in Vietnam are remembered on the Vietnam Service, American Merchant Seamen Memorial in San Francisco. The attack on the SS Baton Rouge Victory was largest single loss of life due to enemy action for merchant mariners in the Vietnam War.[20]

Vietnam Service. American Merchant Seamen who made the supreme sacrifice. San Francisco, includes men from the SS Baton Rouge Victory

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Babcock & Wilcox (April 1944). "Victory Ships". Marine Engineering and Shipping Review. 
  2. ^ Victory ships
  3. ^ "Liberty Ships and Victory Ships --Setting the Stage". Retrieved 2017-03-17. 
  4. ^ Newport Mercury from Newport, Rhode Island, Page 5, 1 March 1946
  5. ^ The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California, Page 1 November 29, 1946
  6. ^ Small United States and United Nations Warships in the Korean War, By Paul M. Edwards
  7. ^ Small United States and United Nations Warships in the Korean War, page 172, By Paul M. Edwards, page 175
  8. ^ Korean War Educator, Merchant Marine, Accounts of the Korean War
  9. ^ Small United States and United Nations Warships in the Korean War, By Paul M. Edwards
  10. ^ Sea Lift Korea Merchant
  11. ^ The Merchant Marines in the Korean War
  12. ^ mariners, SS Baton Rouge Victory
  13. ^ (in Vietnamese) Thanh Trà, "Đặc công đánh đắm tàu Baton Rouge Victory 10.000 tấn" Archived August 26, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., Xã hội Thông tin, retrieved on 26-8-2014.
  14. ^ Stephen Schwartz,, "Remembering Vietnam's Forgotten Seamen", San Francisco Chronicle, October 20, 1997.
  15. ^ Culver, John A., CAPT USNR "A time for Victories" United States Naval Institute Proceedings February 1977 pp. 50-56.
  16. ^ Marolda, Edward (2015). Combat at Close Quarters Warfare on the Rivers and Canals of Vietnam (PDF). United States Navy Naval History and Heritage Command. p. 26. ISBN 9780945274735. 
  17. ^ Sherwood, John (2015). War in the shallows U.S. Navy coastal and riverine warfare in Vietnam 1965–1968 (PDF). United States Navy Naval History and Heritage Command. p. 153. ISBN 978-0-945274-76-6. 
  18. ^, The U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration
  19. ^, 329th Transportation Company (Heavy Boat)
  20. ^ usdot, On Memorial Day, DOT honors fallen Merchant Mariners,May 29, 2012


  • Sawyer, L.A. and W.H. Mitchell. Victory ships and tankers: The history of the ‘Victory’ type cargo ships and the tankers built in the United States of America during World War II, Cornell Maritime Press, 1974, 0-87033-182-5.
  • United States Maritime Commission: [1]
  • Victory Cargo Ships [2]