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S.S. Kopara, later USS Kopara (AG-50).
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Class: KOPARA (AG-50)
Design: Cargo, 1938
Displacement (tons): 679 gross, 950 dwt.
Dimensions (feet): 193.0' oa x 35.7' e x 13.7' load
Original Armament: 4-20mm (1943)
Later armaments: --
Complement: 47 (1944)
Speed (kts.): 12
Machinery: Two 4-cylinder diesels, 2 screws
||4 Aug 42
||21 Sep 42
||12 Jan 45
||19 Jan 45
||11 Jan 45
FY: None (acquired with funds appropriated for "Maintenance Bureau of Ships"). In 1938 Henry Robb Ltd. of Leith, Scotland, delivered the 679-ton motor coaster KOPARA to the Union Steamship Co. of New Zealand, apparently on behalf of her registered owner and operator, Richardson & Co. Ltd. of Napier, N.Z. She was one of several small Robb-built motor cargo vessels with engines aft and bridge amidships, another being CUBAHAMA (later KAULA, AG-33). KOPARA ran in the coastal trade from the North Island to the South Island of New Zealand. She was noted for her special lifting capacity with big hatches, electric winches, and big slings that allowed her discharge up to 1,000 tons of cargo overnight during the war.
The Commander Service Force South Pacific Force needed the ship for supply operations in advanced areas. The New Zealand government chartered her from her owners and made her available to the USN for operation, the New Zealand government charging the cost of the charter to Reverse Lend Lease. She then made one journey to Guadalcanal with a New Zealand crew under U.S. operational control and survived a heavy bombing attack there. However, because British law did not permit changing a chartered ship from British to foreign registry and because there was an urgent need for the ship to be manned by a U.S. Navy crew, the USN used BuShips maintenance funds to purchase her instead of chartering her. ComServForSoPacFor informed the VCNO by dispatch on 17 Sep 42 that the ship had been purchased for the Navy through the New Zealand Government for charge against reverse Lend Lease. She was initially designated as a cargo ship (AK-62) but was quickly reclassified as a miscellaneous auxiliary (AG-50) because of her small size. KOPARA was used as an interisland cargo ship in the Southwest Pacific, and was returned to the New Zealand government upon decommissioning. She lasted in commercial service until 1988.
||Ex AK-62 23 Sep 42. Ex merc. KOPARA (completed Sep 38). Merc. KOPARA 1945, SARANG 1966, CHERRY CHEPAT 1969, SEE HAI HONG I 1984. Deleted 1988.
Compiled: 07 Sep 2009
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2009