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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm fascinated by such ghost fleets - how they have rotted away or been slowly scrapped. All those Liberty ships that saved our bacon, and the battleships kept in case they might be needed someday.
The article, at the end, includes a host of interior shots from a clandestine visit to the remaining Californian mothballs of ten years back.
 

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Think 'James Bond'. Almost all of the Main Titles of the Bond films were done by American designer Maurice Binder. I knew him almost 7 years before his death in 1991. He was a bit of ship entheusiast. Over one lunch he told about his idea for film using one of 'ghost ships', a Liberty. Needed a Liberty. There were two available at the time and in running condition... one in San Francisco and one in Baltimore. The story was about a group of children who managed to get on board the ghost ships. Over time the ship became their 'fort'. There was a watchman who allowed the children to pay on board. Not just small children, pre teens and some older. The old watchman was a former engineer and he told the ship and about the engines and how they worked etc. Then a couple of escaped convicts managed to get on board and used it as their hideaway. Eventually the 'cons' had an idea and they forced the children and the watchman to fire up the boilers and slip the moorings and the ship 'escaped'. I can't remember the of the story!!!! Damn! Anyhow, it had the makings of a good Disney film.

Jeramia O'Brian in San Fran or John W. Brown in Baltimore would be quite suitable. The ships would make the 'sets' and these ship are frequently in steam and there are lots of children that have been on board the ships. It would be a simple to come up with a good story line.

Stephen
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Think 'James Bond'. Almost all of the Main Titles of the Bond films were done by American designer Maurice Binder. I knew him almost 7 years before his death in 1991. He was a bit of ship entheusiast. Over one lunch he told about his idea for film using one of 'ghost ships', a Liberty. Needed a Liberty. There were two available at the time and in running condition... one in San Francisco and one in Baltimore. The story was about a group of children who managed to get on board the ghost ships. Over time the ship became their 'fort'. There was a watchman who allowed the children to pay on board. Not just small children, pre teens and some older. The old watchman was a former engineer and he told the ship and about the engines and how they worked etc. Then a couple of escaped convicts managed to get on board and used it as their hideaway. Eventually the 'cons' had an idea and they forced the children and the watchman to fire up the boilers and slip the moorings and the ship 'escaped'. I can't remember the of the story!!!! Damn! Anyhow, it had the makings of a good Disney film.

Jeramia O'Brian in San Fran or John W. Brown in Baltimore would be quite suitable. The ships would make the 'sets' and these ship are frequently in steam and there are lots of children that have been on board the ships. It would be a simple to come up with a good story line.

Stephen
That's interesting, Stephen. Thanks. I did a short stretch on ss Malabar, a Liberty ship owned by Brocklebanks. That was 1959. A big change from my usual Brock ship. My tiny cabin was just a few paces from the wireless room. The deck had steel reinforcing straps across weak points behind the bridge, where the Liberty was known to crack.
 

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That's interesting, Stephen. Thanks. I did a short stretch on ss Malabar, a Liberty ship owned by Brocklebanks. That was 1959. A big change from my usual Brock ship. My tiny cabin was just a few paces from the wireless room. The deck had steel reinforcing straps across weak points behind the bridge, where the Liberty was known to crack.
Friend did a couple of a Liberty about 1948.. with Blue Funnel. Holts Gentlemen? :)

Yes, the Liberty ships were prone to crack. Part of the problem was substandard welding and also not enough rounded corners. I have been around the O'Brian in SF. THey had been steaming the day before so the E/R was warm and lots of hissing. Great smell of hot oil too!

There is a 3rd Liberty in use as museum, a Greek one and now in Piraeus. Not sure if she is working condition though.

Stephen
 

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Hello Harry
I really enjoyed the article about the people sneaking aboard the reserve ships in the Suisun Fleet and spending the weekend. It's surprising that they were never caught. When I was a midshipman at the California Maritime Academy, we'd take the liberty launch, a 40 foot open wooden motor boat, up to the reserve fleet to salvage parts for the school ship. At that time there were hundreds of old ships of many types including Liberty and Victory ships in the fleet. This would have been around 1965. It's hard to imagine how dark the interior of these old ships was. A flashlight illuminated a very narrow beam which was surrounded by absolute darkness. I can only imagine it would be similar in a very deep cave.
Subsequently as a pilot I towed many ships out of the reserve fleet which were being taken down to San Francisco Bay and set up for a long tow to Taiwan for scrapping. It was a time capsule boarding these old ships and looking through the bell books in the chart room and seeing names of people I knew and had sailed with. The mess room would have notices made to the crew for paying off that had been written thirty or forty years previously.
I recall speaking to one Australian gentleman who had purchased an old C-2 that was being offered for scrap. He'd had the successful bid to purchase the ship and explained how he'd obtained that successful bid. He was on deck with another bidder examining the ship who told him the pipes on deck were for steam lines for the winches. He agreed with the other bidder that they were steam lines knowing that they were actually degaussing lines that would be full of copper wire which was very valuable. This enabled him to place a higher bid and win the offering.
Thanks for posting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hello Harry
I really enjoyed the article about the people sneaking aboard the reserve ships in the Suisun Fleet and spending the weekend. It's surprising that they were never caught. When I was a midshipman at the California Maritime Academy, we'd take the liberty launch, a 40 foot open wooden motor boat, up to the reserve fleet to salvage parts for the school ship. At that time there were hundreds of old ships of many types including Liberty and Victory ships in the fleet. This would have been around 1965. It's hard to imagine how dark the interior of these old ships was. A flashlight illuminated a very narrow beam which was surrounded by absolute darkness. I can only imagine it would be similar in a very deep cave.
Subsequently as a pilot I towed many ships out of the reserve fleet which were being taken down to San Francisco Bay and set up for a long tow to Taiwan for scrapping. It was a time capsule boarding these old ships and looking through the bell books in the chart room and seeing names of people I knew and had sailed with. The mess room would have notices made to the crew for paying off that had been written thirty or forty years previously.
I recall speaking to one Australian gentleman who had purchased an old C-2 that was being offered for scrap. He'd had the successful bid to purchase the ship and explained how he'd obtained that successful bid. He was on deck with another bidder examining the ship who told him the pipes on deck were for steam lines for the winches. He agreed with the other bidder that they were steam lines knowing that they were actually degaussing lines that would be full of copper wire which was very valuable. This enabled him to place a higher bid and win the offering.
Thanks for posting.
I hope some of that ephemera - crew notices and the like - were saved for archiving by some public institution. Those long gone days and lives are worth keeping on record.
 

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I'm fascinated by such ghost fleets - how they have rotted away or been slowly scrapped. All those Liberty ships that saved our bacon, and the battleships kept in case they might be needed someday.
The article, at the end, includes a host of interior shots from a clandestine visit to the remaining Californian mothballs of ten years back.
I'm fascinated by such ghost fleets - how they have rotted away or been slowly scrapped. All those Liberty ships that saved our bacon, and the battleships kept in case they might be needed someday.
The article, at the end, includes a host of interior shots from a clandestine visit to the remaining Californian mothballs of ten years back.
I am glad to see a few liberties and Victories saved. I volunteered on the Jeremiah O Brian and the Lane Victory. We salvaged engine room electric panels and other parts from the Suisun bay mothball fleet for Lane Victory I believe in the late eighties. What a sad place seeing all those beautiful old ships slowly dying. I later sailed engineroom on the Inger a T-2 converted to a bulker. She was my favorite ship of all time. I am sad that no T-2's were saved. They were vital to the war effort too. Now that I am retired I am collecting pictures and stories of the T-2's from their birth in war time to all their various roles in later life. I look forward to reading your books and article.
Best regards
Cay
 

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I am glad to see a few liberties and Victories saved. I volunteered on the Jeremiah O Brian and the Lane Victory. We salvaged engine room electric panels and other parts from the Suisun bay mothball fleet for Lane Victory I believe in the late eighties. What a sad place seeing all those beautiful old ships slowly dying. I later sailed engineroom on the Inger a T-2 converted to a bulker. She was my favorite ship of all time. I am sad that no T-2's were saved. They were vital to the war effort too. Now that I am retired I am collecting pictures and stories of the T-2's from their birth in war time to all their various roles in later life. I look forward to reading your books and article.
Best regards
Cay
The Inger, owned by Reynolds Aluminum? I had a chance to visit once in Astoria in 1970, I remember one or two of the officers were younger than usual, and saw her many times, also the Walter Rice, making regular runs from Texas (?) and I think an occasional run from Australia.
 

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The Inger, owned by Reynolds Aluminum? I had a chance to visit once in Astoria in 1970, I remember one or two of the officers were younger than usual, and saw her many times, also the Walter Rice, making regular runs from Texas (?) and I think an occasional run from Australia.
Yes Inger worked for Renynolds Metals. When I was aboard in the 90's she was owned by Sealift Bulkers. We worked out of New Orleans and mostly delivered grain to West Africa and South America. Once we delivered 22 thousand tons of Urea to Albania. Boy the deck crew had a time cleaning the holds after that. It stuck like glue. Inger was the first American ship to go to Albania since WWII. We actually went through an old WWII minefield to enter the port of Durres. Glad we had a good pilot. As a lover of antique machinery and steam I was in heaven working in the engine room as an OMU. I am collecting photos, memorabilia and stories of all the T2's and would love to find more photos of Inger.
 

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Yes Inger worked for Renynolds Metals. When I was aboard in the 90's she was owned by Sealift Bulkers. We worked out of New Orleans and mostly delivered grain to West Africa and South America. Once we delivered 22 thousand tons of Urea to Albania. Boy the deck crew had a time cleaning the holds after that. It stuck like glue. Inger was the first American ship to go to Albania since WWII. We actually went through an old WWII minefield to enter the port of Durres. Glad we had a good pilot. As a lover of antique machinery and steam I was in heaven working in the engine room as an OMU. I am collecting photos, memorabilia and stories of all the T2's and would love to find more photos of Inger.
Astonishing that they lasted into the 90s. By that time, the plates might have been a touch thin.
 
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