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Flying Enterprise
Flying Enterprise

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As per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Flying_Enterprise



1944: SS Cape Kumukaki
1947: SS Flying Enterprise


1944: War Shipping Administration
1947: Isbrandtsen Company

Port of registry:

1944: United States Los Angeles
1947: New York

Builder: Consolidated Steel Corporation, Wilmington, California Yard number: 360
Launched: 7 January 1944 Completed: March 1944 In service: 18 March 1944

Identification: Official number 215133 Code letters KWFZ ICS Kilo.svg ICS Whiskey.svg ICS Foxtrot.svg ICS Zulu.svg
Fate: Sank 10 January 1952

General characteristics

Type: Type C1-B ship
Tonnage: 6,711 GRT
Length: 396 ft 5 in (120.83 m), pp
Beam: 60 ft 1 in (18.31 m)
Height: 25 ft 8 in (7.82 m)
Propulsion: 2 x Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co steam turbines, double reduction geared driving one screw. 4,000 hp (3,000 kW)
Speed: 14 knots (26 km/h)
Crew: 48, plus 10 passengers

SS Flying Enterprise was a 6,711 ton Type C1-B ship which sank in 1952. She was built in 1944 as SS Cape Kumukaki for the United States Maritime Commission for use in World War II. The ship was sold in 1947 and then operated in scheduled service under the name Flying Enterprise.


Cape Kumukaki was built by Consolidated Steel Corporation of Wilmington, California and launched on 7 January 1944. Delivered on 18 March 1944, she was owned by the United States War Shipping Administration and registered at Los Angeles.

After the end of World War II, she was sold in 1947 to the Isbrandtsen Company. At this time, her name was changed to the Flying Enterprise and re-registered in New York. For the next five years, she was used as a general cargo freighter in the North Atlantic.

On 21 December 1951, under the command of Henrik Kurt Carlsen, she left Hamburg, Germany bound for the USA. Among her cargo was 1,270 long tons (1,290 t) of pig iron and 486 long tons (494 t) of coffee, 447 long tons (454 t) rags, 39 long tons (40 t) peat moss, twelve Volkswagen cars, antiques and antique musical instruments, typewriters, 447 long tons (454 t) of naphthalene as well as ten passengers. There is speculation that the cargo also included gold and zirconium.

Four days later, on Christmas night, she encountered a storm in the Western Approaches to the English Channel. Afterwards, it was discovered that she had suffered structural damage and a crack was found across the weather deck. The cargo then shifted. An SOS was issued on 28 December, by which time she was listing 45 degrees to port. British flagged vessel MV Sherborne and USS General A. W. Greely responded, Sherborne being first to arrive, early in the morning of 29 December. Carlsen, however, was reluctant to evacuate passengers and crew to a British ship. Sherborne was asked to remain on station in case the situation deteriorated before an American ship arrived. The situation did deteriorate, just as USS General A W Greely arrived mid-afternoon and both ships sent lifeboats to pick up passengers and crew. The crew and passengers were evacuated with the loss of one life (a male passenger). Captain Carlsen remained on board. After passengers and crew had been evacuated, MV Sherborne was released and continued her voyage to Manchester.

By 2 January 1952, the USS John W. Weeks had arrived and relieved the merchant ships. The following day, the tug Turmoil arrived, guided by the searchlights from USS John W Weeks, but found it impossible to take the Flying Enterprise in tow. The tug's mate, Kenneth Dancy, was then transferred to the Flying Enterprise on 4 January, by which time the list had increased to 60 degrees. The ship was taken in tow on 5 January, when she was some 300 nautical miles (560 km) from Falmouth, Cornwall. On 6 January, USS Willard Keith relieved the John W Weeks and the French tug Abeille 25 also joined the rescue effort. The tow line parted at 01:30 on 10 January, with Flying Enterprise 31 nautical miles (57 km) south of The Lizard and 41 nautical miles (76 km) from Falmouth. Later that day, the Turmoil was joined by the Trinity House vessel Satellite and the tugs Dexterous and Englishman. Carlsen and Dancy finally abandoned ship at 15:22 hrs and were picked up by Turmoil. The Flying Enterprise sank at 16:10 hrs to whistle, siren and foghorn salutes from the flotilla.

The salvage attempts were criticised as the ship might have been saved by heading for the nearest safe harbour, Cork, rather than Falmouth.

A public house in Cork, Ireland is named the "Flying Enterprise" after the ship.


In 1960, some $210,000 of the $800,000-worth of cargo was salvaged from Flying Enterprise by the Italian company Sorima. Under a confidentiality clause in the salvage contract, further details of the recovered cargo were not released.
· Date: Sat, 1 February 20 · Views: 279
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Senior Member

Registered: January 2009
Location: New York
Posts: 4,133
Sun, 2 February 20 12:03

In 1978 Farrell Lines bought American Export-Isbrandtsen Lines, the owners of this ship. When I worked for Farrell Lines in the 1990s I saw a very large model of this famous ship in a dust-covered glass case in the back of the company's offices in New York City. When I inquired among the office workers, none of them seemed ever to have noticed it, or to know anything about it's significance. Farrell Lines was, in turn, bought out by Maersk in 2005, after which the New York office was closed. I have no idea what happened to that model, but it certainly deserved a place in a museum.
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Senior Member

Registered: July 2007
Location: Valparaiso
Posts: 2,656
Sun, 2 February 20 15:25

This ship, Flying Enterprise and Captain Carlsen finaly made me decide to go to sea. In june 1952 I left Sweden with Johnson Line's Amazonas
for South America. As an aprentice in the engineroom. 17 years old.
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