Type R ship

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USS Aludra (AF-55) (built as SS Matchless a type R2-S-BV1 ship) at sea, 17 September 1954
SS Adria (AF-30), a type R1-M-AV3 Adria-class ship, in 1949

The Type R ship is a United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) designation for World War II refrigerated cargo ship, also called a reefer ship. The R type ship was used in World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and the Cold War. Type R ships were used to transport perishable commodities which require temperature-controlled transportation, such as fruit, meat, fish, vegetables, dairy products and other foods. The US Maritime Commission ordered 41 new refrigerated ships for the US Navy. Because of the difficulty of building refrigerated ships only two were delivered in 1944, and just 26 were delivered in 1945 and the remainder in 1946–48. The 41 R type ships were built in four groups. Two of design types were modified type C1 ships and two were modified type C2 ships. The United Fruit Company operated many of the R type ships in World War 2. The type R2-S-BV1 became the US Navy Alstede-class stores ship and the type R1-M-AV3 became the US Navy Adria-class stores ship. [1][2][3][4]

Ships in type[edit]

R2-S-BV1 Alstede-class stores ship, DWT 5008, built by Moore Dry Dock Company of Oakland, California in 1945. Used carrying frozen meat to allied forces in WW2. Hull is close to C2-SU type ships. Displacement: 6,319 t.(lt), length: 469', beam: 63', draft: 26', speed: 15 kts max., crew complement: 64, propulsion: cross-compound turbines, single propeller.[5]

R2-ST-AU1 DWT 6148, built by Gulf Shipbuilding Corporation in Chickasaw, Alabama in 1945-1946. Also had accommodations for twelve passengers in six cabins. Owned by the United Mail Steamship Company. Ships were operated by United Fruit Company / Great White Fleet.[7][8]

  • SS Fra Berlanga scrapped 1971
  • SS San Jose scrapped 1976
  • SS Limon later sold to NV Caribbean Shipping of Rotterdam and renamed SS Talamanca, scrapped in 1977 [9][10]
  • SS Esparta scrapped 1977
  • SS Junior scrapped 1975
  • SS Comayagua scrapped 1975

R1-M-AV3 Adria-class ship, DWT 7,435, built by Pennsylvania SY in Beaumont, Texas in 1944-1945, Hull was close to a type C1-M-AV1. Specs: 12 kts. max, length: 338 ft (103 m), beam: 50 ft (15 m), draught: 18 ft (5.5 m), diesel engine, single screw, 1,700shp.

R2-ST-AU1 DWT 6,148, built by Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia in 1947. Twin screw with two 6,600 shp geared turbines, max. speed of 18 knots. Also called a banana Boat. Length 138.82 Meters, beam: 18.67 Meters, depth: 10.83 Meters, draught: 8:28 meters and Refrigerated: 333,900 Cubic Feet. Owner and operator United Fruit Steamship Corporation Inc., New York (NY), USA[14]

  • SS Parsimina Scrapped 1977
  • SS Heredia renamed SS Tanamo, Scrapped 1977
  • SS Metapan Scrapped 1977

R1-S-DH1 Yaque class. DWT 5,008, built Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point, Maryland in 1947-1948, Engine: De Laval Turbine Company Inc., Trenton (NJ), USA, 6050 hp, 16 knots, Length: 117.66 Meters, derricks 9, winches 8. For United Fruit Company, Inc., New York (NY), USA. Used to move tropical fruits and vegetables during war. Smallest of the R ships. Also had a few passenger cabins.

  • SS Yaque Scrapped 1972
  • SS Cibao Scrapped 1975
  • SS Quisqueya Scrapped 1975
  • SS Santo Cerro renamed SS Castilla 1969, Scrapped 1975
  • SS Sixaola Scrapped 1978
  • SS Tivives Scrapped 1968
  • SS Hibueras Scrapped 1972
  • SS Ulua Scrapped 1972
  • SS Morazan Scrapped 1976

Notable incidents[edit]

Other World War reefers[edit]

  • Due to the lack of refrigerated cargo ships, World War One and other refrigerated cargo ships were used for World War Two. The Mizar-class stores ships were six United Fruit passenger and refrigerated cargo liners built in 1931–33 that the United States Maritime Commission requisitioned in 1941–42 for the war. The six ships requisitioned were the: USS Antigua, USS Ariel, USS Merak, USS Mizar, USS Talamanca and USS Tarazed. Antigua, although requisitioned, was never commissioned into the Navy.[17]
  • Also requisitioned from the United Fruit Company was the SS Ulua; which became the USS Octans. It was the last of the United Fruit Company reefer ships to be taken over for the war; near the end of April 1943 in San Francisco.[18]
  • Due to the lack of WW2 reefer ships, other ships were converted to reefers for the US Navy, like the Danish ships: USS Pontiac, USS Roamer and USS Uranus.[19][20][21]
  • The company Concrete Ship Constructors Shipyard, in National City, California, built three Concrete ships with reefer space. The three ships hulls, 45, 46 and 47 were completed with reefer capacity.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ shipbuildinghistory.com, R-Type Refrigerated Cargo Ships
  2. ^ usmm.org c5 ships
  3. ^ usmaritimecommission.de R types
  4. ^ Design R2-S-BV1: Refrigerated Cargo Vessel-turbine : Stowage and Capacity Booklet, Author United States. Maritime Commission, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946
  5. ^ shipbuildinghistory.com, Moore Dry Dock Company
  6. ^ .navsource.org, USS Aludra
  7. ^ Chickasaw Shipbuilding (1917-1925)
  8. ^ leagle.com, LA RUE et al. v. UNITED FRUIT CO., Decided May 11, 1950.
  9. ^ SS Talamanca
  10. ^ SS Talamanca photo
  11. ^ navsource.org, USS Latona
  12. ^ navsource.org, USS Bondia
  13. ^ historycentral.com, USS Octavia
  14. ^ shipbuildinghistory.com, Newport News Shipbuilding
  15. ^ navsource.org, USS Aludra (AF-55)
  16. ^ Alaska Shipwrecks: 1750 - 2010, By Captain Warren Good, page 963
  17. ^ Oliver, Kenneth G. (1995). Under the Southern Cross: A Petty Officer's Chronicle of the USS Octans. McFarland & Company. pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-0899509990.
  18. ^ Oliver, Kenneth G. (1995). Under the Southern Cross: A Petty Officer's Chronicle of the USS Octans. McFarland & Company. pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-0899509990.
  19. ^ navsource.org, USS Pontiac
  20. ^ navsource.org, USS Roamer
  21. ^ navsource.org, USS Uranus
  22. ^ militarymuseum.org, Concrete Ship Constructors Shipyard

External links[edit]

  • Photo gallery of Alstede at NavSource Naval History no nationality or prefix;